Interstate Compact for Placement of Children

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Issue: Interstate Compact for Placement of Children


Judicial decisions with interstate placement implications must comply with the Compact requirements.


No formal position.


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 assigns 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.  Some of the issues addressed included the type placements covered by the ICPC, which state should bear the cost of home studies and supervision, how to resolve disputes between states, information sharing between states, timeliness of placements, and the definition of jurisdiction.


APHSA established a Development and Drafting Team (DDT) to update the ICPC in July 2004.  The revised ICPC is modeled after the Interstate Compact on Adult Supervision, would establish an Interstate Commission of member states with rulemaking authority.  Much of the implementation details for the new ICPC will be left to the rulemaking process.   The revised ICPC limits the application of the ICPC to children in foster care and certain private cases and excludes the placement of children in residential treatment facilities by their parents.  

When the revised ICPC was 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 governs 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 ICPC before it is effective.  According to the APHSA staff, twelve 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 response to continued delays, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is advocating for state legislation to increase the role of courts in the process.