Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children: ICPC
CRS Report for Congress
Interstate Comp act on the
Placement o f Children: ICPC
Douglas Re id W e imer
American Law Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children: ICPC
The Int erst at e C om pact on t h e P l acem ent o f C hi l d ren (“IC P C ”) p rovi des a
uni form l egal fram ework for t he pl acem e n t o f c h i l d ren across S t at e l i n es i n fost er
homes and/or ado p t i v e h o m es. At t he pres ent time, all fifty S tates, the District of
Columbia, and the Virgi n Islands have enacted t h e p rovisions of the ICPC i n t heir
individual l aws. This report ex amines the ICPC, the regulations which implement
t h e IC P C , and v ari ous federal l aws w hi ch i m p act t h e IC P C .
In troduction ......................................................1
SummaryoftheProvisions oftheICPC ................................4
ArticleI–Purposeand Policy .....................................4
A r t i c l e III– C ondi t i ons for P l acem ent ...............................5
Art i cl e IV –P enal t y for Il l egal P l acem ent ............................6
Article VI–Institutional C ar e o f Delinquent Children ..................6
ArticleVII--Compact Administrator ...............................7
Article VIII--Limitations ........................................7
ArticleIX–Enactment andWithdrawal .............................7
Article X–Construction and Severability ............................7
Regulation No. 0.01–Forms ..................................8
Regu lation No. 1–Conversion o f Intrastate P lacement i nto Interstate
Placement; Relocation of Family Units .....................8
R egu l at i o n No. 3–P l acem ent s wi t h P arent s, R el at i v es, Non-Agency
Guardians, and Non-family Settings .......................9
R egu l at i o n No. 4–R esi d ent i al P l acem ent .......................9
RegulationNo. 5–Central StateCompact Office ..................9
Regulation No. 6–Permission to Place Child: Time Li mitations,
R egu l at i o n No. 7–P ri ori t y P l acem ent ..........................9
R egu l at i o n No. 8–C hange o f P l acem ent P urpose ................10
Regulation No. 9–Definition of a Visit ........................10
Regu lation No. 10–Guardians ...............................10
TheFederal Rolein theICPC .......................................11
Operations oftheICPC ............................................12
C h i l d P l acem ent s m ade t h rough t he IC P C ..........................12
R educi n g D el ays i n Int erst at e P l acem ent s –Border S t at e Agreem ent s .........14
HHS OfficeoftheInspectorGeneralReport ........................16
R ecent Federal Legi sl at i o n ..........................................17
Interstate Compact o n the Placement of
The Int erst at e C om pac t on t h e P l acem ent o f C hi l d ren (“IC P C ”)1 provides a
uni form l egal fram ework for t he pl acem ent o f chi l d ren across S t a t e l i n e s i n fost er
homes and/or adopt i v e h o m es . At t he present time, all fifty S tates, the District of
C o l u mbia, and the Virgi n Islands have en acted the p rovisions of the ICPC i n t hei r
i ndi vi dual l aws. In general , S t at e l aws govern chi l d pl acem ent s , and cert ai n
differences ex ist among the v arious St ate l aws; however the ICPC p rovides
uniformity and t he legal s tructure for t he interstate placement of children for adoption
or for fost er care. In recent years, t h e rol e o f t he IC P C i n i n t erst at e pl acem ent s has
i n creased i n i m port ance b ecause of dem o graphi c changes i n Am eri can soci et y, t h e
growing n eed to find appropriate homes for children i n j uris d i c t i o n s other t han i n
their home j urisdiction, and t he transience of current daily life. 2
The chief function o f t he IC PC is to protect the i nterests of children and of the
States by requiring that certain procedures be follo w e d i n t h e making and t he
m ai n t enance o f i nt erst at e chi l d pl acem ent s . T he IC P C provi des v ari ous safegu ards
for chi l d r e n and the S tates, including: uniformity of placement p ractices which
promotes economy and efficiency; oversight of the children i n i nterstate p lacement
so t h at pl aced chi l d ren d o not becom e “l ost ; ” and p revent i o n o f t he “dum pi ng”of
unwant ed chi l d ren b y one S t at e i nt o anot her S t at e. P ri or t o an i n t erst at e pl acem ent
of a chi l d , t he IC P C requi res t he ex ecut i o n o f an agreem ent b et ween bot h
part i ci p at i n g S t at es–t h e s e n d i ng S t at e and t h e recei vi ng S t at e. The recei vi ng S t at e
must undertake a s tudy of the p roposed placem ent and notify t he appropriate person
i n t h e s endi ng S t at e t hat t he pl acem ent “does not appear t o be cont rary t o t h e i nt erest s
of the child.”3 Only after t his s tudy is completed and this determination of t he child’s
i n t erest s i s m ade, m ay t he chi l d be sent or brought i n t o t h e recei vi ng S t at e.
1 Secretariat t o t he Association of Administrators of t he Interstate Compact on the Placement
of Children, Guide t o t he I n t e r s t ate Compact on t he Placement of Children 9-12
(2001)(Cited t o afterward as “ICPC.”) Copy in Appendix.
2 For example, i t i s not uncommon f or a birth mother to reside in one j urisdiction, for her to
gi ve birth i n a second j urisdiction, and f or t h e p r o s p ective f oster or adoptive parents to
reside in a t hird j urisdiction. In addition , t h e l e ga l concept of “family” has expanded
beyond its traditional definition i n some j urisdictions.
3 ICPC, Art. III (d). Ar ticle III (d) does not state “best interests” of the child.
The Keeping C hildren and Families S afe Act of 2003, 4 w h i ch P resident Bu sh
signed into law on J une 25, 2003, includes provisions on interjurisdictional
adoptions. The law amends the Adoption Opportunities P rogram established under
the C hild Abuse P revention and Treatment and Actio n R e f o rm Act of 19785 and
authorizes certain grants for p rojects that s eek to eliminate t he barriers t o adoptions
across j urisdictional boundaries. It also r equires t he Secretary o f Health and Human
Services to submit to Congre s s a r e p ort containing recommendations for an action
plan to facilitate the i nterjurisdictional adoption of foster children.
This report ex amines the l egal background of the ICPC, provides a section-by
-section s ummary of the ICPC and its regulations, ex amines the implementation of
the ICPC, considers various issues which h ave arisen t hrough t he operation o f t he
IC PC, and ex amin e s s t udies which h ave b een undertaken on the ICPC and its
effectiveness. The limited role of t he federal government with respect to the ICPC
is ex amined, along with a new federal l aw intended t o better facilitate
An interstate compact is a binding contract between the party Stat es and also i s
a s t at u t e enact ed by t h e l egi s l at u re of each part y S t at e. 6 The Framers of the
Constitution provided for the authorization of t hese agreem ents in the “compact
clause.” This clause provides t hat “No State s hall, without the C onsent o f C ongress,
... enter i nto any Agreement o r C ompact with another S t a te, o r with a foreign
power....”7 The requirement that Congress must consent t o s uch a compact has b een
held applicable o n l y t o t hose compact s which encroach upon specific federal
powers. 8 Therefore, com p act s whi ch do not ex pand S t at e powers, such as t hose
compact s concerning traditional S tate matt e r s , d o not require the approval o f
Congress.9 The IC P C – whi ch d eal t w i t h chi l d wel fare and chi l d pl acem ent --concerns
a t raditional S tate matter, and did not require congressional approval, as it did not
ex pand the ex i sting and traditional authority of the S tates.10
4 Pub. L. 108-36 (J une 25, 2003).
5 Pub.L. 95-266, 92 Stat. 208 (Apr. 24, 1978), c odified at 42 U.S.C. § 5111.
6 F. Zi mmerman & M . Wendell, T he Law of Interstate Compacts, 1, 2 ( 1976).
7 U.S. Const. art. I, § 10, cl. 3.
8 Virginia v. Tennessee, 148 U.S. 503, 519 (1893).
9 Si n c e t h e b egi nning of the t wentieth century, t he interstate compact has been used as an
instrument for State cooperation i n i mplementing affirmative progr ams f or the solution of
10T he ICPC provi des t hat t he gove rnme nt of Canada or a Canadi a n provi nce may j oin the
IC P C w i t h t he c onsent of Congress (ICPC, art. IX ). At the c urrent time, congression a l
approval has not been sought for Canadian participation.
P robl em s associ at ed wi t h i n t erst at e chi l d pl acem ent h ave ex i st ed for m any
years. In the 1950's a gr o u p o f East C oast social service administrators m et to
informally study the i ssues of childr e n m o v e d out of State for foster care and/or
ad o p t i o n . The group focused on t he failure of ex isting child importation and
ex portation s tatutes enacted by the i ndividua l S tates t o p rovide ad equate protection
for children. 11 Thei r s t udy cent ered o n t wo i ssues: 1 ) a S t at e’s j uri s di ct i o n ended at
its borders; and 2) a S tate could only compel an out-of-state agency or individual t o
discharge its obligations toward a child through a compact . There was also concern
that a S t a t e t o which a child was s ent d id not have to provide supportive s ervices,
even though i t might agree t o d o s o o n a courtesy basis. In response t o t hese
problems, the ICPC was drafted under t he au spices of the New York State Legislative
Committee o n Interstate C ooperation and was approved b y a twelve-State conference
in 1960. New York was the first State t o enact the ICPC i n 1960. 12 Since t hen, all
States, t he District of Columbia, and the V irgi n Islands have adopted the p rovisions
of the ICPC.13
11Secretariat t o t he Association of Administrators of t he Interstate Compact on the
Placement of Children, Guide t o t he Interstate Compact on t he Placement of Children 1
(2001)(cited afterward as “Guide”).
12Id. See also Ha r o l d Ha ge n, The I nterstate Compact on t he Placement of Children, Child
Welfare 12 (Dec. 1960).
13 Citations to the ICPC i n a ll j urisdictions: Ala. Code §§ 44-2-20 to 44-2-26 (1991); Alaska
Stat. §§ 47.70.010 to 47.70.080 (Michie 2000); Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 8-548 to 8-548.06 (West
1999); Ark. Code Ann. §§ 9-29-201 to 9-29-208 (2002); Cal. Family Code §§ 7900 to 7912
(Wes t 2003); Colo Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 24-26-2802 to 24-26-1803; § 26-6-104(5)(West 2002);
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-175 to 17a-182 (West 1998); 31 Del. Code Ann.§§ 381 to 389
(1988); D.C. Code Ann. §§ 4-1421 to 4-1424 (2001); Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 409.401 to 409.405
(West 1998); Ga. Code Ann. §§ 39-4-1 t o 39-4-10 (1995); Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 350E-1
to 350 E-9 ( Michie 1999); Idaho Code §§ 16-2101 to 16-2107 (Michie 1979); 45 Ill. Comp.
Stat. Ann. §§ 15/0.01 to 15/9 ( West 1993); Ind. Code Ann. §§ 1 2 -1 7 -8 -1 t o 12-17-8-8
(Michie 1997); Iowa Code Ann. §§ 232.158 to 232.168 (West 2000); K an. Stat. Ann. §§ 38-
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. Ch.C. §§ 1608 to 1622 (West 1995); 22 M e. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 4191 to
4247 (West 1992); M d. Code Ann., Fam. La w §§ 50601 to 50611 (1999); M ass. Gen. Laws
Ann. ch. 119 App., §§ 2-1 t o 2-8 (West 1993); M ich. Comp. Laws Ann. §§ 3.711 to 3.717
(West 1994); M inn. Stat. Ann. §§ 260.851 to 260.91 (West 2003); M iss. Code Ann. §§ 43-
18-1 t o 43-18-17 (1999); M o. Ann. Stat . §§ 210.620 to 210.640 (West 1996); M ont. Code
Ann. §§ 41-4-101 to 41-4-109 (2001); Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 43-11-1 t o 43-11-2 ( 1998); Nev.
Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 127.320 to 127.350 (Michie 1998) ; N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 170-A:1 t o
§§ 32A-11-1 t o 32A-11-7 ( Michie 2001); N.Y. Socia l S e r vi ces Law § 374-a ( McK i nney
2003); N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-3800 to 7B-3806 (1999); N.D. Century Code §§ 14-13-01 to
Stat. Ann. §§ 571 to 576 (West 1998); Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 417.200 to 417.260 (1999); 1996
Pa. Legi s . Servi ce, 62 P.S. §§ 761 to 765 (West); R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 40-15-1 t o 40-15-10
(1997); S.C. Code §§ 20-7-1980 to 20-7-2070 (Law. Co-op. 1985); S.D. Codified Laws §§
Fam. Code Ann. §§ 162.101 to 162.107 (V ernon 2002); Utah Code Ann. §§ 62A-4a-701 to
62A-4a-709 (2000); 33 V t. Stat. Ann. §§5901 to 5927 (2001); 34 V .I. Code Ann. §§ 121 to
127 (1994); V a. Code Ann. §§ 63.1-219.1 to 63.1-219.5 (Michie 1995); Wash. Rev. Code
Summary of the P rovi sions of the I CPC
Suggested legi slation for the implementation o f t he IC PC was p roposed by the
IC PC drafters, and was adopted by the p arty States in substantially similar form. The
IC P C t ex t i s di vi ded i nt o t en art i cl es, and t hi s t ex t h as al so been enact ed i n nearl y
identical form by the m em ber S tates.14 The IC P C d efi n es t h e t yp es of pl acem ent s and
the placi ng individuals or entities who are subject to the l aw; t he pro ced u r es t o be
fol l o wed i n m aki n g an i nt erst at e p l acem ent ; a n d t h e s p eci fi c p rot ect i ons, s ervi ces,
and requirements b rought about by the enactment of the l aw.
The IC P C requi res p rospect i v e, rat h er t h an ret rospect i v e com pl i ance. Hence,
the ICPC requires t hat its procedures be fo llowed i n s equential o rder, s o as t o obtain
t h e recei vi ng S t at e’s p erm i ssi on for p l acem ent , pri o r t o t he chi l d bei n g s ent b y t he
sendi ng S t at e t o t he recei vi ng S t at e.
Ar ti cl e I –Pur pose a nd Pol i c y
Article I of t he IC PC sets forth t he purpose and policy of t he IC PC. The
st at em ent o f purpose p rovi des t hat t he IC P C was d r a f t ed t o accom p l i s h four
objectives: 1 ) each child receives m ax imum opportunity for p lacement i n s uitable
c a re; 2) t h e recei vi ng S t at e i s ful l y i n form ed of t h e p l acem ent ci rcum s t ances a n d
requirements; 3) the s end i n g S t a t e h as al l i nform at i o n n ecessary t o eval uat e a
p o s s i b l e p l acem en t ; an d 4 ) t h e j u ri s d i c t i o n a l r esponsibilities of both t he sending Stat e
and t he recei vi ng S t at e are m ade cl ear.
The first purpose responds to a p roblem wh en there i s a shortage of appropriate
placements for children i n a particular Stat e. This purpose requires t he max imiz ation
of opportunity for desirable placements--by removing limitations usually imposed by
S t ate boundaries–hence, ex panding the range of available p lacements. By ex p anding
t h e range of pl acem ent s , a chi l d wel f a r e a d m i n i s t rat or i s not rest ri ct ed by S t at e
boundary lines in locating a desirable p lacement for a child.
The s econd and t hird purposes respond to the n eed to have adequate knowledge
in order t o review a proposed interstate placement p rior to the p lacement o ccurring.
P roblems m ay arise when a child is placed in a S tate without the p rior knowledge o f
that S t ate’s child welfare authorities and the courts–those bodies which are ultimately
responsible for t he well being o f t he child.
The final purpose concerns issues related t o j urisdictional conflicts regarding t he
supervision o f and financial responsibility for i nterstate p lacemen ts. These problems
Ann. §§ 26.34010 to 26.34080 (West 1997); W .V a. Code Ann. §§ 49-2A-1 t o 49-2A-2
(Michie 2001); W isc. Stat. Ann. §§ 48.988 to 48.989 (West 1997); W yo. Stat. Ann. §§ 14-5-
involve the possible l oss of j urisdiction over a child placed out-of-state, t he inability
t o supervi s e an out -of-st at e pl acem ent , and t he ri sk of shi ft i n g t h e f i n a nci al
responsibility to the receiving State.
Ar ticle II–Definitions
Four key d efi n i t i ons are p rovi ded b y Art i cl e II– chi l d , s endi ng agency, recei vi ng
S t at e, and p l acem ent :
“C hi l d ” i s d efi n ed as a p erson, who b y reason of hi s o r h er m i nori t y, i s l egal l y
subject to parental guardianship or similar control.
The “sendi ng agency” i s d efi n ed as a p art y S t at e, offi cer or em pl oyee; a court
o f a p art y S t at e; a p erson, corporat i on, associ at i on, chari t abl e agency o r o t h e r
entity which s ends, brings, or causes t o be s ent or brought any child to another
A “recei vi ng S t at e” m eans t he S t at e t o whi ch a chi l d i s sent , b rought , o r caused
to be sent or brought, whether by public authorities or pri v a t e persons or
agenci es, and whet her f o r p l acement with stat e or l ocal authorities or for
pl acem ent wi t h pri v at e agenci es o r p ersons.
A “placement” is defined as t he arrangement for the care o f a child in a family
free home, or boarding home, or in a child-care agency or i nstitution. 15 It does
not incl u d e any i nstitution caring for the m entally ill, mentally defective, or
epileptic, or any institution primarily educational i n charact er, or any hospital
or other m edical facility.
Ar ticle III–Conditi ons for P lacement
Thi s art i cl e set s out four general requi rem ent s for a v al i d pl acem ent . P aragraph
(a) p rohibits a s ending agency from s ending, b ringing, or causi ng to be sent or
brought into any p arty State any child for p lacement i n foster care o r as a preliminary
st ep t o a possi bl e adopt i on, unl ess t h e p rovi si ons of Art i cl e III and t he pl acem ent
l aws of t h e recei vi ng S t at e are m et .
Paragraph (b) requires t hat a sending agency must provide written notice of t he
proposed placement t o t he recei ving State. This written no tice i s required t o i nclude
identi f yi n g i nformation about the child, the child’s parents o r guardians, and the
person, agency, or i nstitution with whom the child is to be placed. This notice m ust
contain a statement o f reasons for t he proposed placement and evidence of the
authority pursuant t o which the p lacement i s p roposed to be made.
15T he t erm “family free” home i s not defined i n t he ICPC. However, t he term is defined i n
Regulation No. 3; “family free or boarding home” means t he home of a relative or unrelated
indivi dual whether or not the placement r ecipient r ecei ve s compensation f or care or
maintenance of t he child, f oster care payments, or any other payments or reimbursements
on account of the c hild’s being i n t he home of t he placement r ecipient.
Paragraph (c) provides t hat an appropriat e offi cer of t h e s endi ng S t at e, agency
of the s ending State, or the s ending agen cy itself m ay be required t o p rovide any
addi t i onal i nform at i o n request ed by t h e recei vi ng S t at e.
Paragraph (d) provides t hat t he child shal l not be sent, b rought, o r caused t o b e
sent or brought i n t o t h e recei vi ng S t at e unt i l t h e recei vi ng S t at e not i fi es t he sendi ng
agency in writing t hat t he proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the
interests of t he child.
Ar ticle I V–Penalty for Illegal Placement
Two t ypes of penalties for a place m e n t m a d e in violation of t he IC PC are
provided for in Article IV. The violation of t he IC PC is treat ed as a violation of t he
chi l d pl acem ent l aws o f bot h t h e s e n d i n g a n d t he recei vi ng S t at es and m ay be
punished as such in either Stat e. The ICPC violation i s considered to constitute
grounds for t he suspension or revocation o f a license to place or to care for children.
Ar ticle V–Retenti on of Jur i sdi c ti on
P aragraph (a) st at es t h at t h e j uri s di ct i o n over a chi l d pl aced i n anot her S t at e i s
ret ai n ed by t h e s endi ng agency t o di rect t h e chi l d ’s cust ody and car e . The s endi ng
agency holds the s ame d egree o f control over, and responsibility for, the child as if
t h e chi l d had rem ai ned i n t he sendi ng agency’s S t at e. The s endi ng agency rem ai n s
financially responsible for t he support and maintenance o f t he child during t he period
of pl acem ent . P aragraph (a) set s out an ex cept i o n t o t he ret ent i o n o f j uri s di ct i o n b y
the s ending agency when a child commits a crime or a d elinquent act in the receiving
S t at e. The recei vi ng S t at e h as j u ri sdi ct i o n s uffi ci ent t o d eal wi t h t h e act of t h e
delinquency o r t he crime.
Paragraph (b) provides t hat when t he sending agency is a public agency, i t m ay
ent er i nt o an agreem ent wi t h an aut hori z ed publ i c or pri v at e agency i n t he recei vi ng
State p roviding for t he performance of one or m o re servi ces concerni ng t h e case b y
serving as an agent for t he sending agency.
P aragraph (c) st at es t h at not hi ng i n t h e ICPC s hall be construed t o p r e vent a
p r i v a t e chari t abl e agency aut hori z ed t o pl ace chi l d ren i n t he recei vi ng S t at e f r o m
performing s ervices or acting as agents i n t hat S tate for a privat e charitable agency
o f the s ending State. Nor s hall the ICPC p revent the agency i n t he rec e i v i n g S t a t e
from d ischargi ng financial responsibility for t he support and maintenance o f a child
who h as been placed on beha l f o f t h e s ending agency without relieving the
responsibility set out in paragraph (a) above.
Ar ti cl e V I – I nsti t uti onal Car e of Del i nquent Chi l dr e n
Article VI provides for the p lacement o f a child adjudi c a t e d d e l i nquent in an
institution i n another S tate pursuant t o t he IC PC. No placement s hall be made unless
the child is gi ven a court h earing o n notice t o t he parent or gu ardian with opportunity
to be heard, prior t o t he child being s ent t o t he other j urisdiction for institutional care.
In addition, the court m ust det ermine t hat: 1) equivalent facilities for the child are not
available i n t he sending agency’s jurisdiction; and 2) t he institutional care i n t he other
jurisdiction i s i n t he best interest of the child and will not produce undue hardship.
Ar ticle VII--Compact Administrator
Art i cl e VII p rov i d e s t h a t t he Governor of each S t at e (or t h e ex ecut i v e o f t he
jurisdiction) must designat e an officer of the S tate to serve a s a compact
administrator to coordinate IC PC activities. In addition, the admin istrator, acting
w i t h o t h e r compact administrators, has t he authority to promulgate rules and
regulations to implement the ICPC.
Ar ticle VIII--Limitations
The ICPC applicability is limited by t wo provisions in this article. P aragraph
(a) ex empts placements made by a close relative (p a r e nt, s tepparent, grandparent,
adult b rother or sister, adult uncle or aunt) o r t he gu ardian, and leaving t he child with
any o f t hese same close relatives or non-agency gu ardian in the receiving S t ate.
P aragraph (b) ex em pt s p l acem ent s m ade pursuant t o anot her i nt erst at e c o m pact or
similar agreem ent bet ween the S tates.
Ar ticle I X–Enactment and Withdraw al
This article provides t hat t he IC PC may be j o i n e d b y “any s tate, t erritory or
possession of the United S t a t e s , t h e District o f C olumbia, the C ommonwealth of
Puerto R i c o , and, with the consent of C ongress, the Government of Canada or any
province t h ereof.” In most instances, t he IC PC may b e j oined b y t he enactment of
its provisions into State l aw.
Article IX provides for the withdrawal from t he IC PC by the e n a c t m ent of a
State statute. Such a withdrawal cannot take effect for two years following the
enactment. Notice of t he withdrawal must be gi ven t o all of the other party S tates.
The withdrawal of a p a r t y S t ate s hall not affect the rights, duties, and obligations
under t he IC P C of any s ending agency with respect to a p lacement m ade p rior to the
effect i v e d at e o f t he wi t hdrawal . 16
Ar ticle X–Construction and Severability
Article X requires the liberal construction and the severability of the ICPC
pro v i sions. If t he IC PC is held contrary to the constitution of any party S tate, t he
com p act shal l re m a i n i n f u l l force and effect as t o t h e rem ai ni ng S t at es and i n ful l
force and effect as t o t h e S t at e affect ed as t o al l s everabl e m at t ers.
16Since t he compact was created, no party State has attempted t o withdraw from t he ICPC.
The ICPC Regulations
At the present time there are ten ICPC R egulations (“Regulations”) which are17
summarized bel ow. Art i cl e VII o f t he IC P C v est s t he ex ecut i v e h ead of each
jurisdiction t hat i s party to the ICPC with the authority to act jointly with the other
party j urisdictions in order t o p romulgate rules and regulations. The Regu lations are
developed b y t he Association o f Administrators o f In t e r s t a t e C ompact of the
P l acem ent o f C hi l d ren (“AAIC P C ”) and t h e IC P C S ecret ari at , di scussed b el ow. It
appears t hat t he member jurisdictions gi ve the R egulations the force of State l aw.
W h ile the ICP C m o d e l h as remained unchanged through t he years,18 various
changes and mo difications have been made to the R egulations which h ave b een
m odi fi ed t o reflect changi ng soci et al need s--such as t he need for ex p edi t ed p l acem ent
processing. These modifications are s ummariz ed b elow.
Re gulation No. 0.01–Forms. Regulati on 0.01 deals with the uniformity and
the availability of the v arious forms required for IC PC placements. The Regu lation
lists and describes the various forms and thei r uses. The amend ed Regulation was
approved o n M ay 2, 2001 and b ecame effective o n J uly 2 , 2001.
Regulation No. 1–Conversion of Intrastate P lacement into Interstate
Placement; Re location of Family Units. This Regulation concerns situations
when an i n t rast at e pl acem ent b e com es an i n t erst at e pl acem ent . The appropri at e
form s and procedures are s peci fi ed. T he docum ent at i o n n eeded for p rom p t h andl i n g
is set out in the R egulations. It i s m ade clear that the R egulation does not alter t he
recei vi ng S t at e’s s upervi s i o n and report o n t he pl acem ent .
Within thirty days of being notified by the sending State o r b y t he custodian(s)
from t he sending State19 that the custodian(s) and the child have ar r i v e d i n t he
receiving State, the appropriate personnel o f t he receiving State s hall make an initial
contact with the custodian(s) t o ascertain conditions and p rogress t oward compliance
wi t h t h e appl i cabl e l aws and requi rem ent s o f t he recei vi ng S t at e.
Regu lation 1 b ecam e effective i n M ay 1973 and was repealed and replaced at
the 1999 AAICPC annual m eeting.
Re gulation No. 2–Repealed. This regulation rel at ed to certain programs in
which children could b e p laced in family hom es in order t o p ermit their attendance
17Regulation No. 2 w a s r e p e a l e d in 1999. A copy of the Regulations is attached in the
Appendix t o t his r eport.
18It should be noted that indivi dual States may have made modifications to the model
language in the e nactme nt and possible s ubsequent amendment of t he ICPC into their State
19T he r egulation does not specifically define “custodian.” Howeve r, subsection ( d) states
that where a custodian(s) holds a current li cense, certificate or approval from t he sending
State evi dencing qualification as “a f o s t er parent or other custodian,” the r eceivi ng State
shall give effect to such license. It may be presumed that the “custodian” i s a foster and/or
adoptive parent or a n a ge nt of the s ending State.
at local public schools. The regulation was repealed b y a c t i o n t aken at the 1999
AAICPC annual m eeting.
Re gulation No. 3–Placements w ith Parents, Re latives, Non-Agency
Gua r d i a n s , a nd Non-fa mily S e ttings . This Regulation provides s peci fic
definitions for s everal key t erms: p lacement; conditions for p lacement; gu ardian and
non-agency gu ardian; family free o r boarding home; and foster care. This Regu lation
also provid e s s p e c i fic i nstances when the ICPC does not apply: to certain child
placements involving close rel atives or gu ardians o r when a court t ransfers the child
to a non-custodial p a r ent under certain circumstances. C ertain instances of
pl acem ent whi ch requi re IC P C com p l i ance are set out , s uch as when a chi l d i s pl aced
with any entity not included i n t he definition o f p lacement as s pecified in Article II
Re gulation N o. 4–Residential P lacement. This Regulation deal s with
determining whether the s ending/bringing of a child to another S tate is ex em pt from
the ICPC by reas o n o f the ex emption provided for various institutions. The
Regulation provides various definitions for determining whether the p l acem ent is
ex em pt: primarily educational i n s t i t ution; hospital or other medical facility;
in stitution for the m entally ill or mentally defective; and t reatment for a chronic
The Regulation governs t he applicability/nonapplicability of the ICPC t o certain
speci fic i nstances : s hort-term treatment fo r an acute condition; treatment of a chronic
condition; placement o f minor with a chronic m ental o r b ehavioral condition i nto a
facility with treatment programs; place m e n t i n a t reatment center; out-patient
treatment; funding sources for t he cost of treatment; and the t yp e o f license held by
Re gulation No. 5–Central State Compact Office . T h is Regulation
requi res each p a r t y S t a t e t o est abl i s h a cent ral S t at e com pact offi ce for IC P C
matters. The appointment of the coordinators of activities under t h e IC PC in the
individual p arty States is provided for.
Re gulation No. 6–Permission to Place Ch i l d: Time Limitations,
Reapplication. Thi s R egu l at i o n p rovi des t hat the authori t y for m aki n g a pl acem ent
is limited t o s ix months, a n d if placement i s not made in that time period, a
reappl i cat i o n m ust b e m ad e . If a reappl i cat i o n i s m ade b y t he sendi ng agency, t he
receiving State m ust d etermine whether th e child’s needs o r condition h ave changed
si nce t he i n i t i a l a u t h o r i z at i on. The recei vi ng S t at e wi l l deny t h e p l acem ent i f i t
det erm i n es t h at t h e p l acem ent i s cont rary t o t h e i nt erest s of t h e chi l d .
Re gulation No. 7–Priority P lacement. Ex em ptions from t he Regulation
are s et out , s uch as when t he request for p l acem ent o f t he chi l d i s for l i censed o r
approved foster family care o r adoption. When a court d etermines that a p riority
pl acem ent o f a chi l d from one S t at e t o anot her S t at e i s necessary, t he court s hal l si gn
an order of t hat finding. S peci fic time limits are established for the various actions
of t h e court , t h e s endi n g S t a t e C om pact Adm i n i s t rat or, and t h e recei vi ng S t at e
Compact Administrat or. S peci fic direction i s given fo r t he transmission of the
appl i cat i o n t o t he recei vi ng S t at e C om pact Adm i n i s t rat or and t his Administrator wi t h
a s pecific t i m e p eriod in which t o respond. If the receiving S t ate C ompact
Administrat or does not complete the action within the allowed tim e p eriod, the
recei vi ng S t at e i s d eem ed t o be out of com p l i ance wi t h t h e IC P C .
The R egulation requires t hat t he court o rd er finding entitlement for priority
pl acem ent m ust f i n d one or m o re of cert ai n ci rcum st ances present . These
circumstances include when the p roposed pl acement recipient i s a relative b elonging
to a c l a s s of persons who, under Article VIII( a ) o f t h e IC P C c o u l d r ecei ve a chi l d
from another person belonging t o s uch a class, without complying with the ICPC and
certain other s t a n dards are m et . Time periods in this regulation m ay be modified
with a written agreement b etween the court, the s ending agency, t he receiving State
Compact Administrat or, and the s ending Stat e C ompact Administrat or.
The R egul at i o n requi res t hat S t at e and l ocal agen c i e s a re requi red t o p rocess
interstate cases–both routine and hardship--as quickly and as efficiently as intrastate
cases. A n ex cept i o n i s m ade for cert ai n ex t rao rdinary circumstances . R equirements
are m ade for the t ransmittal of documents.
Regu lation 7 was first effective o n October 1 , 1996, and was readopted by the
AAICPC i n April 1999. It was amended at t he 2001 AAICPC annual m eeting and
was effective as o f J uly 2 , 2001.
Re gulation No. 8–Change of Placement P ur pos e. Regulation 8
provides t hat form ICPC-100B is to be used when there i s a change of purpose i n an
ex isting p lacement, e.g. from foster care t o p readoption, even though t he placement
recipient m ay remain the s ame. The regul ation was first effective April 30, 1997 and
was readopted at the 1999 AAICPC annual m eeting.
Re gulation No. 9–Definition of a Visit. This Regulation provides a
definition o f a visit and distingu ishes a visit from a placement. A s tay o f m ore t han
thirty days is considered a p lacement, ex cept under certain circumstances. If a stay
does not have an ex press t erm i n at i o n d at e, or if the duration i s not clear, t he stay is
t o be consi d ered a p l acem ent o r a p r oposed placem ent and not a v i s i t . A v i s i t , as
def i n e d by R egulation No. 9, is not subject to the oversight of the ICPC. The
Regu lation was first adopted as a resolution effective o n April 26, 1983. It w a s
promulgated as a Regulation as of April 1999 and was amended at t he 2002 AAICPC
annual m eeting, taking effect after J une 27, 2002.
Re gulation No. 10–Guardians. This Regulation provides speci fi c
definitions for t he terms “gu ardian” and “nonagency guardian.” Ex cept under certain
ci rcum st ances , p rospect i v e adopt i v e p arent s are not consi d ered gu ardi ans. The
R egu l at i o n al s o d eal s w i t h t h e effect of gu ardi a n s h i p on IC P C pl acem ent s , t he
perm a n e n c y status of gu ardianships, and guardian appointed by the p arent. The
Regu lation was promulgated i n Apr il 1999, amended at t he 2002 AAICPC annual
meeting, with the amendments effective after J une 27, 2002.
The Federal R ole i n the ICPC
The federal governm ent do e s not adm i n i s t er t he IC P C , however, federal l aw
concerning Stat e foster care policy (Title IV-B and IV-E of t he Soci al Security Act
di scussed b el ow) m akes speci fi c reference t o cert ai n prot ect i ons for chi l d ren w ho are
placed interstate. T he law i s i ntended t o ensure t hat S tate boundary lines are not to
be a b arri er t o t h e p l acem ent o f chi l d ren i n p erm anent hom es.
Title IV-E, S ection 475(A) and (C) of the S ocial S ecurity Act20 mandates t hat
a case p l an p repared for a chi l d pl aced out of S t at e p rovi de t h e reasons why t hi s out
of S t at e p l acem ent i s i n t he chi l d ’s best i n t erest s.21 The continued appropriateness
o f such a p lacement m ust also b e p art o f t he child’s required annual p e r m a n e n c y
review and plan. The s tatute al so requires t hat a Stat e t hat has made an interstate
placement s end a c a s e w o r k e r t o visit the home or i nstitution where the child is
l o cat ed at l east once every t w el ve m ont hs and t o s ubmit a report t o t he child’s home
Stat e evaluating t his visit.22
The Adoption and Safe Families Act, 1997 (“ASFA”) 23 addresses i nt erst at e
c h ild placements relating t o adoption. AS FA prohibits S t ates from d ela yi n g o r
denying a placem en t for adoption when an approved family is available i n another24
jurisdiction. The S tates are required t o d evelop plans for the effective u se of cross-
jurisdictional resources to facilitate the timely adoption o r t he permanent p lacements
o f ch ildren.25 If charges o r d el ays i n cross-j u ri sdi ct i onal p l acem ent are m ade, t he
S t ate m ust afford an opportunity to r e v i e w t h e “promptness” of the p lacement.26
S t at es i n vi ol at i o n o f cross-j u ri sdi ct i onal p l acem ent requi rem ent s are subj ect t o t h e
withholding of federal funds. 27
The AS FA also m andated t hat t he General Accounting Office (GAO) review
t h e operat i o n o f i n t erst at e chi l d pl acem ent s and report t o C ongress on how t o
improve procedures t o f acilitate timely adoptions across S tate boundaries. This
report i s d iscussed b elow.
2042 U.S.C. § 675(5)(A) a nd 42 U.S.C. §675(5)(C).
21Id. § 675(5)(A).
22Id. § 675(5)(C).
23Pub.L. 105-89, 111 Stat. 2116, Nov. 19, 1997.
2442 U.S.C. § 622(b)(12).
25Id. § 671(a)(23).
26Id. § 671(a)(15).
27Id. § 674(d).
Operations of the I CPC
Admi ni str a ti on of the I CPC
The i ndividual s tate child welfare agencies are the primary administrat ors of t he
IC PC. Individual S tates establish t heir own i ndividual p rogram and p rocedures. As
provi ded b y A rt i cl e VII o f t he IC P C , each S t at e h as a C om pact Adm i n i s t rat or who
oversees t h e i nt erst at e p l acem ent p roce s s . The C om pact Adm i n i s t rat ors o f al l t h e
member Stat es are authorized by Article VII t o j ointly issue rule s a nd regulations.
The C ompact Administrat or is often t he commissioner o r t he director of the S tate’s
social service p rogram. The Deputy C omp act Administrator and h is/her support s taff
normally handle t he IC PC’s day-to-day operations.
The C ompact A dministrat ors have established a national organization, the
A s s o c i at i o n o f A dm i n i s t rat ors o f t he In t erst at e C o m p act on t h e P l acem ent o f
Children (“AAICPC”). The AAICPC i s associ at ed with the American Public Human
S ervi ces Associ at i o n w hi ch provi des a S ecret ari at t o t he AAIC P C for record keepi n g
purposes, and for t echnical and l egal support. The S ecretariat p rovides coordinating
functions on a n ational l evel which i ncl ude record keepi n g, di ssem i n at i o n o f d a t a,
t echni cal assi st ance, and o t h er dut i e s . T h e AAIC P C i ssues a C om pact
A d ministrat or’s Manual (“M anual”)28 that incl udes t ex t, regulations, forms and
procedures for administering the ICPC. In addition, the Manual provides
interpretative m at erials, opinions, and information concerning individual S tates and
A s i gni fi cant funct i o n o f t he S ecret ari at i s t o provide advisory opinions to IC PC
Administrators. These opinions are i ncl uded i n t he Manual. While the S ecret ariat
Opinions do not have the force of law, they are s ometimes cited by courts as
persuasive authority in IC PC issues.29
Chi l d Pl acements made thr ough the I CPC
Aft er i t i s d et er m i n e d t h at t h ere m ay be an i n t erst at e chi l d pl acem ent , t h e
relevant IC P C personnel i n both t he sending S t ate and the receiving S t a t e a r e
requi red t o b e cont act ed. W hi l e t h e general wordi n g and appl i cat i o n o f t he IC P C i s
nearl y i d ent i cal i n al l j uri s di ct i ons, each S t ate has i m p l em ent ed i t s own requi rem ent s.
The requirements o f each S t ate m ay vary depending upon whether i t i s t he sending
State or the recei vi ng State. Other variations in State requirements may occur in
whether t he placement i s an agency p lacem ent o r a private p lacement (conducted
without the u se of a s ocial s ervices agency) and whether t he placement i s for foster
care o r for adoption.
A s t h e first actual s tep i n t he process, the ICPC requires t hat t he prospect i v e
sending agency submit a notic e o f p r oposed placement i n writing t o t he receiving
28American Public Human Servi ces Association, The Compact o n t he Placement o f
Children: Compact Administrators’ Manual (2000).
29H. Gitlin, Adoptions: An Attorney’s Guide t o Helping Adoptive Parents 116 (1987).
Stat e’s administrat or. In addition, al l S tates require that this notice i s s ent t o t he
Administrat or in the s ending Stat e. The Administrat or then forwards it to the
recei vi ng S t a t e. 30 This written notice i s completed on form IC PC-100A, t he
“Int erst at e C om pact on t h e P l acem ent o f C hi l d ren R equest .” A s oci al h i s t o ry of t h e
chi l d and a case work p l an are al so requi red t o b e p repared. The completed IC PC-
100A and t he child’s social history are forwar ded t o t he prospective receiving S t ate’s
Administrat or by the s ending Stat e’s Administrat or.
After receiving the form ICP C 100A, t he recei v i n g S t ate Administrator will
forward t he documents to the appropriate entity in the receiving S t a t e f o r further
action. Usually the appropriate entity is a l ocal public or private child welfare agency
or a residential facility that is being asked to receive the child. The response t o any
request for pl acem ent will vary with the t yp e o f t he proposed placement. The
response could i nclude a s tudy undertaken by the appropriate official or agency in the
receiving S t ate o f a prospective adoptive o r foster fa mily, or relative home, or a
review by the facility to as certain whet her its program i s appropriate for t he child’s
F o l l owi n g t he l o cal agency’s eval uat i on, i t prepares a report t hat i ncl u d e s a
recommendation o n whether the p lacement s hould b e m ade. This recommendation
i s ret u rned t o t h e C om pact Adm i n i s t rat or i n t h e recei vi ng S t at e for eval uat i on. If t h e
local agency’s eval uation i s positive and the C ompact Administrat or determined that
al l o f t he recei vi ng S t at e’s l aws and requi rem ent s h ave b een m et , t h e p l acem ent w i l l
be approved. If t h e l ocal agency recom m ends agai nst t he pl acem ent and/ or i f t h e
Compact Administrator find s t h at t he placement cannot be legally completed, the
pl acem ent wi l l be deni ed unl ess t he probl em s can be resol v ed. In ei t h er event , t h e
Compact Administrat or notifies t he sending S t at e’s IC P C o ffi ce and forwards copi es
of the recommendations to the s ending agency. 32
The recommended p r o cessing time for t he placement application i s s ix
weeks–t h i rt y worki n g d ays from t he dat e t h at t h e recei vi ng S t at e com p a c t o f fi ce
recei ves t he not i ce o f p l acem ent unt i l t h e d at e t hat t he pl acem ent i s ei t h er approved
or deni ed. H o w e v er, t he referral p rocess m ay t ake l onger t o com p l et e. In recent
years, del ays i n t h e com pl et i o n o f hom e s t udi es by t h e recei vi ng S t at es’ l ocal
agenci es have becom e a s i gni fi cant p robl em . 33 It has been reported t hat at times t he
recei vi ng S t at e does not com p l et e t h e hom e s t udi es for s everal m ont hs. Because of
these d elays, Regu lation No. 7 o n P riority P l acement, was p roposed and was
approved o n J uly 2 , 2001 with the aim of achieving parity of treatment in fact for
i n t erst at e and i nt rast at e p l acem ent s . T he chi ef obj ect i v e o f t hi s regul at i o n w a s t o
assure pri o ri t y handl i n g for hardshi p cases and for cases whi ch h ave a l r e a d y b een
30Guide t o t he Interstate Compact at 4.
32Id. at 5.
Aft er t he request for p l acem ent o f t he chi l d has b een approved b y t he recei vi ng
S t at e, t h e s endi ng agency and t he recei vi ng part i es j oi nt l y work t o arrange d et ai l s for
t h e act ual p l acem ent . The fi n al agreem ent s are arranged concerni ng t h e p aym ent for
t h e chi l d ’s care, t h e t yp e o f m oni t o ri ng of t h e p l acem ent , and t he frequency o f t he
supervisory reports that are t o b e p ro v i d e d t o t he sending agency. After the
com p l et i o n o f al l of t h e p l a n s and agreem ent s , t he chi l d i s m oved t o t he recei vi ng
S t at e. The s endi ng agency t h en not i fi es t he recei vi ng S t at e o f t he pl acem ent b y
completing and sending form IC P C -100B, “In terstate Compact on the P lacement o f
C h i l d ren R eport o n C hi l d ’s P l acem ent S t at u s” t o t h e recei vi ng S t at e.
The s ending agency’s responsibility for t he child cont i n u e s u ntil the agency
l egal l y t erm i n at es t h e i nt erst at e p l acem ent . The p l acem ent m ay be t erm i n at ed: 1 ) b y
ret u rni n g t he chi l d t o t h e hom e S t at e; 2 ) wi t h t h e chi l d rem ai n i n g i n t he recei vi ng
State when t he child is legally adopted; 3) when t he child becomes s elf-supporting
or reaches t h e age of m aj o ri t y; o r 4 ) for ot her reasons wi t h t h e p ri or concurrence o f
t h e recei vi ng S t at e. The s endi ng agency i s requi red t o not i fy t he Adm i n i s t rat or of t h e
recei vi ng S t at e o f any change i n t h e chi l d ’s st at us. S uch a change m u st be report ed
using form ICPC-100B. S uch changes in st atus could i nclude a t er m i n a tion o f t he
i n t erst at e pl acem ent , or a n ew pl acem ent i n t he recei vi ng S t at e, or a t ransfer o f l egal
Reducing D elays i n I nterstate P lacements–Border
Del ays i n i n t ers t a t e p l acem ent rem ai n an i ssue o f concern for t h e AAIC P C . 36
A t echnique which has been developed t o attempt t o reduce del ays and to facilitate
the timely and effici ent completion of home s t u d i es is the s o-called Border S tate
A g r eem ent . These agreem ent s operat e out si de of t h e act ual l egal st ruct ure o f t h e
IC PC, but are consistent w ith the ICPC requirements.
The underlyi ng premise o f t h e Bo rder State Agreements 37 is to permit a l ocal
soci al worker i n t h e s endi ng S t at e t o com pl et e a hom e s t u dy i n t h e recei vi ng S t at e
whil e t he IC PC referral p acket is reaching t he requisite authorities i n t he States
involved i n a child’s case. 38 Presumably, t his would eliminate duplication of home
st udy assessm ent s and accel erat e t he i nvest i gat i v e p rocess. The Agreem ent s usual l y
co n t a i n p rovi si ons whi ch p erm i t t h e l ocal soci al workers i n bot h S t at es t o b ecom e
35Id. at 6.
36Frank Barthel, Interstate Compact on t he Pla cement of Children–Appendix C at 96-97
(cited t o afterward as “Barthel”)..
37A Border State Agreement i s a wr itten document/contract which permi ts two adj acent
j urisdictions to cooperate on interstate placements and t o s treamline and share i nformation
in order t o comply more efficiently with the r equirements of t he ICPC.
38Barthel a t 97.
involved i n t he home s tudy process. The goal o f s uch agreements is to streamline t he
hom e s t udy process and t o reduce d el ays i n i nt erj u ri sdi ct i onal p l acem ent s . 39
Assessment of the ICPC
In 1999, two m ajor studies–one prepared by the General Accounting Office and
one prepared by the Office of the Inspector General o f t he Department of Health and
Human S ervices (“HHS ”)--were released concernin g the IC P C and its
implementation. The findings and recommendations of these studies are s ummariz ed
In 1998, as m a n d a t ed by t he Adoption and Safe Families Act,41 t h e G eneral
Accounting Office (“GAO”) undertook a s tudy of the S tate operation and structure
of the ICPC 42 which focused on three i ssues: 1 ) t he number o f foster children who are
available and waiting for an adoptive home t o b e i dentified; 2) the actions taken b y
State and county child welfare agencies and nonprofit organiz ations to improve the
adoption proces s where prospect i v e adoptive families and foster children live i n
different jurisdictions, and 3) the actions taken b y t he federal government to improve
the adoption proces s where prospective adoptive families and foster children live i n
The GAO Report focused on the act ual operation of t he IC PC and outlined the
various procedures and p rovisions. One of the m ajor findings o f t he study was t hat
there were relatively few foster childre n available and waiting for adoptive homes;
rather, m ost o f t he foster children waiting for adoption were t ho s e w h o w ere
considered most difficult to place (e.g., older children, children with physical and/or
em ot i onal chal l enges, chi l d ren t o b e p l aced wi t h ot her s i b l i n gs , et c.). 43 It w a s
theoriz ed t hat reaching across j urisdictional lines for an adoptive family f o r t h ese
difficult to place children might improve the possibility that a foster child could be
matched with an appropriate family for eventual adoption. Th e G A O Report
concluded t hat t he interjurisdicitonal adoption p rocess i s l onger and m ore i ntricate
than the adoption proces s within a s ingl e j urisdiction. Hence, the R eport concluded
that the opportunities for a s uccessful conclusi on from interjurisdictional s earches for
adoptive families were d ependent on the i nterjurisdictional p lacem ent p rocess itself.
39At this time, it is uncertain how many j urisdictions maintain “Border State Agreements,”
and i t i s also unclear as to how successfully these Agr eements operate.
40However, it should be noted that these f indings were made s everal years ago and may have
dimi nished releva nce i n 2003.
41See note 24.
42Foster Care: HHS Could Better Facilitate the Interj urisdictional Adoption Process ( GAO
Rept. No. HEHS-00-12 Nov. 1999)
43Id. at 9.
The R eport m ade s everal observat i ons. It noted that the i ndividual S tates h ave
the primary responsibility to regulate the adopt i o n p rocess. In addition, nonprofit
organiz ations are also i nvolved i n d evelopi ng improvements i n t he adoption p rocess.
However, the i ndividual S tates’ authority does not ex tend beyond their o wn borders
and nonprofit organiz ations are not able to change thi s p r o c e s s . Hence, the S tates
and t he nonprofit organiz ations cannot implemen t c h a n ge s i n all aspects o f t he
interjurisdictional adoption pro ces s . The R eport noted that the HHS had m ade
attempts to assist the S tates i n i m p roving the adoption process i n areas such as the
provision of technical assistance, and t ha t m ore o rganiz ational p lanning could
facilitate improvements i n t he interested parties i n t he int e r j urisdictional adoption
process. It was s uggest ed t h at such a m ast er p l an coul d p resent s t r a t egi es t o
encourage t he standardiz ation o f home s tudies and t o assist States in the u se of
websites for placement activities.
The GAO Report recommended t hat t he S ecretary o f HHS develop and make
widely a v a ilable an action p lan t o respond to areas that would encourage t he
interjurisdictional adoption of foster children. The p lan would n eed to assess planned
and ongoing activities b y HHS and o ther adop tion agencies and should i nclude plans
to: 1) encourage j oint partnerships between governments and other adoption entities
to promote s tandardiz ation of homestudies and prov i d e additional t raining on t he
IC PC; and 2) provide technical assistan ce t o t h e S t a t e s o n t he effi ci ent u se of
adoption websites i n order to attract adoptive families for difficult to place foster
ch ildren. 44 This suggestion has been implemented by the C hildren’s Bureau of the
Administration for Children and Families of t he Department of Health and Human
Services with the creation of a national i nternet ado p t i o n p h otolisting s ervice:
“AdoptUSKids.”45 This service coordinates p lacemen t s ervices through s ix adoption
organizations and has as its motto: “Together, we will find families for our children.”
HHS Offi ce of the I nspector Gener a l Repor t
The Offi ce of In spect or General o f HHS focused o n t he IC P C and i t s
implementation.46 This study ex am i n ed the ICPC process and related i ssues,
e x a m i n ed t h e s t rengt hs and weaknesses o f t he IC P C process, and m ade ce r t a i n
recommendations as to how to improve the ICPC process.
The s tudy determined that the i ndiv i d u a l S tates have policies and procedures
that ar e g e n e r a lly uniform and comprehensive. The study concluded t hat t he IC PC
has b een successful i n est abl i s hi ng procedures for t he i n t erst at e pl acem ent o f
ch ildren. 47
44Id. at 18.
45See ht t p : / / www.adopt uski ds.or g.
46Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children: Implementation ( Department of helath
and Human Services, Office of Inspect or General)(March 1994) OEI-02-95-00044.
47Id. at 6-7.
H o w e ver, the s tudy discovered and ex amined a number o f weaknesses i n t he
interjurisdictional p lacement p rocess. One area o f concern was found in that many
States were sometimes unaware that childre n h ave b een placed in their j urisdiction. 48
This situation could arise primarily under two sets of circumstances. One instance
coul d b e when chi l d ren were p l aced t h rough t he IC P C but t h e recei vi ng S t at e was not
i n form ed t h at t h e p l acem ent h ad been fi nal i z ed. T he ot her case coul d b e p l acem ent s
that were made without compliance with the ICPC. Other areas of concern were t hat
violations of the ICP C (by persons involved i n t he placement p rocess) could l ead to
probl em s i n p l acem ent and coul d cause subsequent l egal p robl em s.49 It was found
that many persons/entities i nvolved i n t he IC PC process felt t hat i t was too l engt hy
and cumbersome. 50
A f t e r e v a l u a t ing t he IC PC’s operation, the s tudy made v a r i o u s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s
for improvement. These recommendations involved: 1) better awareness of the
IC PC an d i t s o p e ration; 2) timeliness i n administering the ICPC and its various
requirements; 3) better coordination at t he Stat e administration l evel ; 4) t raining and
te c h n i cal assistance provided t o t he St ates; and 4) improved handling of ICPC
placements in residential care facilities.51
Recent Federal Legislation
The “Keeping C hildren and Families S afe Act of 2003" (cited t o afterward as52
“Act ”), contains provisions which impact interj urisdictional adoptions. Enacted on
J une 25, 2003, the Act amends the Adoption Opportunities P rogram created by the53
Child Abuse P revention and Treatment and Adoption R eform Act of 1978. Section
201 of the Act amends 4 2 U . S . C . 5113 and cr eates new p rovisions to facilitate the
elimination o f b arriers t o adoption across j urisdicti onal boundari es. T he Secretary
of Heal t h and H um an S ervi ces i s aut hori z ed t o award grant s t o, or e n t e r i n t o
contracts with States, l ocal government entities, public or private child welfare o r
ad o ption agencies, adoption ex changes, o r adoption family groups to carry ou t
i n i tiatives aimed at improving efforts t o eliminat e barriers t o placi ng children fo r
adoption across j urisdictional boundaries.
The Act provides t hat funds provided are to supplement an y o t h e r funds
available for such purposes, i ncluding: 1 ) d eveloping a uniform homestudy standard
and p rot o col for accept ance o f hom est udi es bet w een S t at es and j uri s di ct i o n s ; 2 )
devel opi ng m odel s of fi nanci n g cro s s - j u ri sdi ct i onal p l acem ent s ; 3 ) ex p andi ng t h e
capacity of all adoption ex changes to serve i ncreasing n u m b e r s o f children; 4)
developing training materials and training social workers o n p reparing and m oving
49Id. at 8.
51Id. at 11-12.
52Pub. L. 108-36.
53Pub. L. 95-226, 92 Stat. 205, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 5111-5115.
children across S tat e l i n es; and 5) developing and s upporting i nitiative m odels for
networking among agencies, adoption ex changes, and parent support groups across
Section 203 of the Act amends 42 U.S.C. § 5114 which d eals with the s tudy of
unlicenced or unregulat e d adoptions. The Act authoriz es additional s tudies,
i n cl udi ng a s t udy of how i n t erst at e pl acem ent s are b ei ng fi nanced across S t at e l i n es.
Section 204 of the Act amends 42 U.S.C. 5114 to require that not later t han one
year after enactment, (Act was signed by the President on June 25, 2003), the
Secretary s ubmit to Congress a report t hat contains recommendations for an action
plan to facilitate the i nterjurisdictional adoption of foster children.
The IC P C p rovi des a uni form fram ework for t he pl acem ent o f chi l d ren across
State lines in foster homes and/or adoptiv e homes. In compliance with the provisions
of t h e IC P C , bot h t he sendi ng S t at e and t h e recei vi ng S t at e h ave ce r t a i n l egal
obl i gat i ons whi ch m ust b e com pl et ed pri o r t o t he i n t ers t a t e p l acem ent and whi ch
have the purpose of protecting b o t h t h e interests of t he children and of the S tate
At the present time, all fifty S tates, the District of C olumbia, and t he Virgin
Is l ands are p art i es t o t he IC P C . T he IC P C defi nes t he t ypes o f p l acem e n t s and t he
placi ng individuals or entities who are subj ect to the l aw; t he procedures to be
f o l l o wed i n m aki n g an i nt erst at e p l acem ent ; and t he speci fi c p rot ect i ons, s erv i c e s ,
and requirements brought about by the adoption of t he IC PC. W hil e t h e ICPC i s
p r i m a rily a m atter of S tate law, certain portions of the S ocial S ecurity Act and t h e
Adoption and Safe Families Act relate to the ICPC. The recently enacted “Keeping
Children and Families S afe Act of 2003" also includes provision s r el at ing t o
The actual operation o f t he IC PC involves a sequential p rocess o f applications,
not i fi cat i ons, and st udi es pri o r t o t he act ual i nt erst at e p l acem ent . R egu l at i ons have
been promulgated t o implement the p rovisions of the ICPC and provide a m eans t o
readily effec t u a t e c h anges i n S tate adoption policy without amending the adoption
l aws of fi ft y-t wo j uri s di ct i ons. S o-cal l ed Border Agreem ent s ent ered i nt o b y adj acent
jurisdictions are aimed at s treamlining t he processes required by t he IC PC. Various
studies have ex amined the operation o f t he IC PC and h ave m ade recommendations
for its improved p erformance.