Issue: Interstate Compact for Placement of Children
Judicial decisions with interstate placement implications must comply with the Compact requirements.
State court leaders encourage states/jurisdictions subject to the ICPC to adopt legislation that authorizes judges in sending and receiving states and jurisdictions to communicate with one another regarding the placement of children and that authorizes judges in the receiving state/jurisdiction where placement is sought to hold hearings at the request of judges in sending states or jurisdictions on the status of ICPC home study requests and enter orders to complete those home studies when they are delayed and timely decisions are not made concerning the children involved. (CCJ/COSCA Resolution 13-A-3)
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) was originally drafted in 1960 to ensure protection of and services for children who are placed across state lines for foster care and adoption. The ICPC also assigned legal responsibility and responsibility for supervision and the provision of services for these out of state placements. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) is the secretariat for the ICPC. In 2004, APHSA undertook an effort to update the ICPC. The revised ICPC is modeled after the Interstate Compact on Adult Supervision and would establish an Interstate Commission of member states with rulemaking authority. Much of the implementation details for the new ICPC are left to rulemaking. When the revised ICPC was initially published, private adoption attorneys raised concerns related to conflicts with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), choice of law rules, and approval of provisional travel to expedite placements. APHSA made changes to the ICPC to address the concerns. The 2006 version of ICPC is posted on the APHSA website. The changes make it clear that the ICPC does not apply to placements in custody proceedings in which a public child placing agency is not involved and the placement is not intended to effectuate an adoption. The changes also clarify that the substantive laws of the state in which an adoption will be finalized solely govern all issues related to the adoption and that the court in which the adoption proceeding is filed has subject matter jurisdiction except when (1) the child is a ward of another court that established jurisdiction prior to the placement, (2) the child is in the legal custody of a public agency in the sending state, and (3) a court in the sending state has otherwise assumed jurisdiction prior to the request for approval of placement. The revised ICPC also includes a procedure and documentation requirements for expediting private placements. Thirty-five states must adopt the revised ICPC before it is effective.
According to the APHSA staff, only 12 states have adopted the revised ICPC – AK, DE, FL, IN, LA, ME, MN, MO, NE, OH, OK, and WI. One impediment for adoption by the states is the cost to states to support the new Interstate Commission that would be established.
As they await adoption of the revised ICPC, APHSA is amending and developing new regulations for the existing ICPC. The 2012 amendments were adopted to govern placement of children in residential facilities in another state (Revised Regulation 4), clarify the role of the Central State Compact Authority Revised Regulation 5, and governs private agency and independent adoptions for children placed in another state (New Regulation 12).
In 2014, APHSA undertook a pilot project to improve efficiency in the administration of the ICPC. The National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) is an electronic case processing system that exchanges data and documents across states and jurisdictions. NEICE was launched in mid-August 2014. Florida, Indiana, Nevada, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia participated in the pilot project. The results in the six pilot jurisdictions have been very positive and shown reduced processing time for interstate placements. Authorization for competitive grants to assist states to implement the NEICE system is included in the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 (H.R. 5456/S. 3065).