Applicant, Participant and Enrolling Agency FAQs




Q. Can Safe at Home help me to amend my birth records after I have legally changed my name?

A. No. For more information, you must contact California Department of Public Health - Vital Records at www.cdph.ca.gov or call (916) 445-8494.

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Q. How do I notify Safe at Home of my change my address?
A. Address changes must be done in writing and must be submitted seven days prior to moving. You may use the Change of Address form (included in your enrollment packet) or you can submit a written letter via fax at: (916) 653-7625 or by mail to: Safe at Home, P.O. Box 846, Sacramento, CA 95812. Your letter must include: Your name, four-digit Authorization ID number, old and new address, your telephone numbers (if they have changed) and you must sign and date the fax. Safe at Home does not accept changes of address via email for security reasons.

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Q. How do I go about changing my name?
A. First, you must be enrolled in the Safe at Home program to be eligible to petition for a confidential name change with your county's Superior court. To enroll in the Safe at Home program, you must be a qualified victim or survivor of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault. Safe at Home provides basic information about the name change process to participants and files the documents after completion of the process. Safe at Home does not employ legal staff, nor does the office provide any assistance to program participants with the name change process. There can be many complications to changing your name confidentially and your eligibility for the services other state and federal agencies provide should be determined before proceeding. It is highly recommended that participants contact a legal advisor, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Department of Public Health - Vital Records before proceeding with the confidential name change process. Important and required steps to a successful confidential name change process:
 
  1. The participant requests, completes and files the Notice of Intent of Name Change form with Safe at Home prior to petitioning for the name change with their county Superior court. The Notice of Intent of Name Change form lists both the old and new name of the participant and is the only legal documentation on file that lists both names. The form must be completed accurately and in its entirety.
  2. Once the Notice of Intent of Name Change form is filed with the Safe at Home program, the participant receives a letter to present to the court verifying that the name has been filed with Safe at Home. This letter can only be obtained after the Notice of Intent of Name Change form is completed and filed with Safe at Home.
  3. Once the participant receives the letter verifying his or her name is on file with Safe at Home, he or she may petition for a confidential name change with his or her county superior court. The participant completes the name change petition and presents the Safe at Home ID card and letter of verification to the court personnel. The participant must write or type the required statement provided in the Notice of Intent of Name Change Instructions in the proposed name area on the petition in order for the name change to be confidential.
  4. Upon receipt of the confidential, certified, stamped and signed decree from the court, the participant sends a certified copy to Safe at Home. Once received, the Safe at Home program then creates and provides new name certification to the participant.
  5. Once the new name certification is provided to the participant, this ends the Safe at Home confidential name change procedure.
  6. Children's name changes:
    1. The child must be enrolled in the program to be eligible for a confidential name change.
    2. Court personnel will verify that the petitioning parent has full legal and physical custody of a minor child.
    3. Safe at Home does not certify that the petitioning parent has a legal right to petition on behalf of a child.
  7. The Safe at Home program does not act as liaison to other government agencies regarding the procedures required to complete the name change process. The participant must follow the procedures provided by the following government agencies and must communicate with their offices directly and prior to petitioning to the court:
    1. Once the participant receives the new name certification from Safe at Home, he or she is required to update his or her Social Security information. Visit the Social Security Administration Web site at: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10093.html for more information.
    2. After the updated social security card is received, the participant should update his or her Driver’s License and driving record information. For more information, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Confidential Record Unit at (916) 657-7142.
    3. If the participant was born in California, he or she may request to have his or her birth records amended through the California Department of Public Health - Vital Records office. For more information about eligibility, please contact the California Department of Public Health - Vital Records office at (916) 445-8494. If the participant was born in another state or country, he or she must inquire with that state or country's Office of Vital Records.
    4. The participant should update educational or professional licenses or public records as necessary.
    5. Again, Safe at Home does not act as a liaison to these agencies, nor does Safe at Home provide any legal advice.
 

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Q. I need to smog my car and do not live in Sacramento County.  What is the correct procedure?
A. Participants may provide the vehicle license plate number to Safe at Home to SMOG their cars confidentially. Safe at Home works with the Bureau of Automotive Repair, who performs the procedure. A Safe at Home representative will contact you when the procedure is complete so that you may SMOG your car without providing your residence address information.

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Q. Can I give my confidential residence address out to anyone?
A. You will have to decide when and to whom you will give your confidential address. The fewer people who know your actual location, the more likely your information will remain confidential. It is advisable not to give your confidential address to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. However if the confidential address is required by a utility or credit card company, you may ask that they place a password on your account for safety purposes.

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Q. How do I suppress (hide) my Department of Motor Vehicles Records?
A. Please contact the Department of Motor Vehicles Confidential Records Unit at 916-657-7142 for more information.

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Q. I have children. Do I need to enroll them too?
A. It is not required, but it is advised that parents enroll their minor children who live in the same household in the program. You will need to complete an application and participant Authorization ID form for each child to be enrolled. Adult children living in the same household must qualify for the program as victims of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault and must complete their own application materials. Parents and guardians must complete and sign the application forms on the applicant's behalf and provide proof of guardianship or conservatorship.

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Q. Am I exempt from serving on a jury if I am a Safe at Home participant?
A. No. If the notification you receive is from the jury commissioner in your county, by law you must respond or you could face penalties. If you receive notification from the jury commissioner in Sacramento County and you live in a different county, comply with the request as required and return the notice to the jury commissioner stating that you do not reside in Sacramento County. The jury commissioner should then remove your name from their juror list.

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Q. Can I use more than one name?
A. No, for purposes of enrollment in Safe at Home and for mail receipt, you can only use your legal name. If there is a completed legal name change on file with Safe at Home, there are two exceptions:
  1. A 90-day period was established for participants who have completed a confidential name change to update their personal records. During this time participants can continue to receive mail under their old name and may also receive mail in their new name.
  2. A participant who has completed a confidential name change may continue to receive mail or service of process sent by the alleged abuser or the alleged abuser's attorney under the participant's old name for the term of his or her enrollment in the program.  

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Q. May I change my children’s names also?
A. You must go before a Superior court judge to make this request.  The other parent may have rights to the child such as custody, visitation, or changes in child support. By law he or she may be notified by the courts of the petition to change your child's name.

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Q. How do I change my social security number after I have legally changed my name?
A. Contact the Social Security Administration for more information. Visit: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10093.html or call (800) 772-1213.

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Q. Is there another way I can protect my identity?

A. To obtain information on identity protection, please visit the Office of the Attorney General web site: www.oag.ca.gov/privacy .

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Q. How do I protect my information with the credit bureaus?

A. You may contact the credit bureaus and formally request that your address be made confidential. Otherwise, when you rent or lease a new home or apartment, your credit report will reflect your current address. Contact the credit bureaus in writing and your address will appear as confidential on the report. (www.experian.com, www.transunion.com, www.equifax.com)

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