Guide to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children

The following summarizes what the Interstate Compact is and the procedures needed to carry it out. The information was excerpted from a booklet entitled Guide to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. The booklet was prepared by the Secretariat to the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association (formerly the American Public Welfare Association).

Why a Compact is Needed Children placed out of state need to be assured of the same protections and services that would be provided if they remained in their home states. They must also be assured of a return to their original jurisdictions should placements prove not to be in their best interests or should the need for out-of-state services cease.

The great variety of circumstances which makes interstate placement of children necessary and the types of protections needed, offer compelling reasons for a mechanism which regulates those placements. An interstate compact—a contract among the states that enact it—is one such mechanism. Under a compact, the jurisdictional, administrative, and human rights obligations of all the parties involved in an interstate placement can be protected.

How did the Compact come about?

The need for a compact to regulate the interstate movement of children was recognized in the 1950s. At that time, a group of east coast social service administrators joined informally to study the problems of children moved out of state for foster care or adoption. Among the problems they identified was the failure of importation and exportation statutes enacted by individual states to provide protection for children. They recognized that a state’s jurisdiction ends at its borders and that a state can only compel an out-of-state agency or individual to discharge its obligations toward a child through a compact. The administrators were also concerned that a state to which a child was sent did not have to provide supportive services even though it might agree to do so, on a courtesy basis.

In response to these and other problems, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children was drafted, and in 1960 New York was the first state to enact it. The Compact required 35 states to enact it before it could be implemented. The 35th state to enact the Compact was Ohio in 1976, and the last state to enact the Compact was New Jersey in 1990.

What recent changes have occurred?

The Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006, was the last federal law change to address the movement of children between states. In addition, until 2010, the regulations had not been changed since 2001. The AAICPC executive committee along with several workgroups have collaborated with the compact members to propose new regulations along with amendments to current regulations to both clarify the compact and reduce delays in making interstate placements. The changes that have been adopted are:

Regulation No.1 – Conversion of Intrastate Placement into Interstate Placement; Relocation of Family Units
Regulation No. 2 – Public Court Jurisdiction Cases: Placements for Public
Adoption or Foster care in Family Settings and/or with Parents, Relatives
Regulation No. 3 – Definitions and Placement Categories: Applicability and Exemptions
Regulation No. 4 – Residential Placement
Regulation No. 5 – Central State Compact Office
Regulation No. 7 – Expedited Placement Decision
Regulation No. 11 – Responsibility of States to Supervise Children
Regulation No. 12 – Private/Independent Adoptions

Who must use the Compact?

According to the Compact, those who Asend, bring, or cause a child to be brought or sent to another state. These persons or agencies, called Asending agencies, include:

The Compact clearly spells out, within Article II, who must use the Compact when they “send, bring, or cause a child to be brought or sent” to another party state. These persons and agencies, called “sending agencies,” are the following:

  • • A party state, officer or employee thereof;
  • • A subdivision, of a party state, or officer or employee thereof;
  • • A court of a party state;
  • • A person corporation, association, charitable agency or other entity having legal authority over a child who sends brings, or causes to be sent or brought any child to another party state.
  • What types of placements does the Compact cover?

    2. Types of Placements Covered

    The Compact applies to four types of situations when children may be sent to other states as brought forth in Article II and further defined in Regulation No. 3:

    Adoptions: Placement preliminary to an adoption (independent, private or public adoptions)

    Licensed or approved foster homes (placement with related or unrelated caregivers)

    Placements with parents and relatives when a parent or relative is not making the placement as defined in Article VIII (a) "Limitations"

    Group homes/residential placement of all children, including adjudicated delinquents in institutions in other states as defined in Article VI and Regulation No. 4.

    Further, the Compact will apply:

  • • If you live in any of the 50 United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the District of Columbia and
  • • If you are sending the child to live with someone other than a relative or non- agency guardian named in Article VIII (a) of the Compact; or
  • • If you are sending, bringing, or causing the child to be brought or sent into a party state, whether or not you have custody of the child, and without regard to the present location of the child (the child could even be in a foreign country); or,
  • • If you are placing the child with someone or some agency other than a medical facility, a boarding school, or a mental health or mental retardation facility.
  • • If the circumstances of the proposed placement fit into those described above, you should contact your state’s Compact office for further information.
  • Types of Placements Not Covered

    Not all placements of children in other states are subject to the Compact, nor are all persons who place children out of state. The Compact does not include placements made:

  • • In medical and mental health facilities,
  • • In boarding schools,
  • • In “any institution primarily educational in character” (see Article II(d); see also
  • • Regulation No. 4)
  • By any of the following making a placement with any of the following:
  • Parent
  • Step-parent
  • Grandparent
  • Adult brother or sister
  • Adult uncle or aunt or
  • The child’s guardian
  • Safeguards offered by the Compact offer?

    In order to safeguard both the child and the parties involved in the child’s placement, the Interstate Compact

  • • Provides the sending agency the opportunity to obtain home studies and an evaluation of the proposed placement;
  • • Allows the prospective receiving state to ensure that the placement is not “contrary to the interests of the child” and that its applicable laws and policies have been followed before it approves the placement;
  • • Guarantees the child legal and financial protection by fixing these responsibilities with the sending agency or individual;
  • • Ensures that the sending agency does not lose jurisdiction over the child once the child moves to the receiving state;
  • • Provides the sending agency the opportunity to obtain supervision and regular reports on the child’s adjustment and progress in the placement.
  • These safeguards are routinely available when the child, the person, or responsible agency and the placement are all in a single state or jurisdiction. When the placement involves two states or jurisdictions, however, these safeguards are available only through the Compact.

    Although the compact includes a provision for visits, as outlined under Regulation No. 9, visits are not recognized as a placement therefore the safeguards offered above will not be fully enacted.

    Procedures for making Compact placement

    When a state enacts the Compact, it becomes law, just as any other legislation passed by a state legislature. Under the terms of the law, the state agrees to follow uniform procedures when it makes or accepts interstate placements of children. Since the Compact is also a contract among the party states as well as a statute in each of them, it must be interpreted and implemented uniformly by all of them.

    Administering the Compact

    Each state appoints a Compact Administrator and one or more Deputy Administrators who oversee or perform the day-to-day tasks associated with the administration of the

    Compact. In every state, the Compact office and personnel are located in an office that is part of the department of public welfare or the state’s equivalent agency. In some states the Compact has been decentralized and is administered by counties. (For a list of those states please see American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) website for current information www.aphsa.org)

    The Compact Administrator is designated to serve as the central clearing point for all referrals for interstate placements. The Administrator and his/her deputies are authorized to conduct the necessary investigation of the proposed placement and to determine whether or not the placement is contrary to the child’s interests.

    After the placement is approved and the child is moved into the state, the Compact Administrator is responsible for overseeing the placement as long as it continues, unless otherwise specified.

    Processing referrals for interstate placements

    When an interstate placement is being considered, the Compact requires that the prospective sending agency submit a written notice of the proposed placement to the Compact Administrator in the receiving state. All party states further require that this notice be submitted to the sending state Compact Administrator, first, who then forwards it to the prospective receiving state.

    This written notice is made on form ICPC-100A, “Interstate Compact Placement Request” available from all party states (a copy of all forms related to the compact can be found at www.icpc.aphsa.org). The completed 100A form and supporting documentation as articulated within the Regulations should be forwarded to the receiving states Compact Administrator by the sending states Compact Administrator for:

  • • Conversion of Intrastate Placement into Interstate Placements; Relocation of Family Units – Regulation No. 1
  • • Public Court Jurisdiction Cases: Placements for Public Adoption or Foster Care in Family Settings and/or with Parents, Relatives – Regulation No. 2
  • • Residential Placement – Regulation No. 4
  • • Expedited Placement Decision – Regulation No. 7
  • • Private/Independent Adoptions – Regulation No. 12.
  • Upon receiving notice of the proposed placement, the receiving state Compact Administrator will forward the documents to an appropriate party in the receiving state for further action. The “appropriate party” will usually be a local public or private child welfare agency or the residential facility which is being asked to accept the child. The “action” needed on any particular request will vary depending upon the nature of the proposed placement, and may include a study of a prospective foster family, adoptive family, parents or relatives or a review by the facility to determine whether or not its program will meet the child’s needs.

    After the local agency has completed the necessary work, it prepares a report which includes a recommendation on whether or not the placement should be made. This information is returned to the Compact Administrator in the receiving state for review. If the local agency’s recommendation is favorable and the Compact Administrator determines that all requirements of the receiving state’s laws have been met, the placement will be approved. If, however, the local agency recommends against the placement or the Compact Administrator determines that the placement cannot lawfully be completed, the placement will be denied. In either case, the Compact Administrator in the receiving state forwards copies of the report, if applicable, and the signed 100A form denoting the placement decision to the sending state’s Compact Administrator. If the placement is denied, the sending state may request reconsideration as articulated in Regulation No. 2.

    Recommended time needed to process requests

    As articulated in Regulation No. 2, an interstate home study report is required to be completed within sixty (60) calendar days after receiving a home study request. This report may, or may not, include a recommendation for placement.

    Final approval or denial of the placement resource shall be provided by the receiving state Compact Administrator in the form of a signed ICPC-100A form, as soon as practical but no later than one hundred and eighty (180) calendar days from receipt of the initial request.

    Experience, has shown that delays in the completion of a home study by the receiving states’ local agencies are a significant problem. Sometimes the receiving state does not complete the home study for many months. As a result, Regulation No. 7, Expedited Placement Decision, was originally enacted in 1996 with the aim of achieving parity of treatment in fact for interstate and intrastate cases. It is also the objective to assure priority handling for hardship cases and for cases which have already suffered delay. (See Regulation No. 7)

    Regulation No. 7 may be used to expedite and ensure priority handling of placement requests within 20 business days from the date the receiving state receives the initial request. The identified resource and the child(ren) must meet the criteria as articulated within the Regulation No. 7 and approved by the courts to be considered an expedited request.

    Making arrangements for child placement

    Once the request to place a child is approved by the receiving state, via the ICPC-100A form, the sending state notifies the receiving state of the child’s placement date by using the ICPC -100B form. The sending and receiving states work together to arrange the details of the actual placement. These details include financial and medical support; supervisory services and reports, or other special arrangements as discussed at the time of the referral. After all plans have been completed, the child is moved to the receiving state.

    The sending agency’s responsibilities

    While the child remains in the out-of-state placement, the sending agency retains legal and financial responsibility for the child. This means that the sending agency has both the authority and the responsibility to determine all matters in relation to the “custody, supervision, care, treatment, and disposition of the child,” just as the sending agency would have “if the child had remained in the sending agency state.” (See Article V(a).)

    The sending agency’s responsibilities for the child continue until it legally terminates the interstate placement:

  • • By returning the child to the home state
  • • When the child is legally adopted,
  • • When the child becomes self-supporting or reaches age of majority or,
  • • When the child is discharged with appropriate concurrence of the receiving state. (See Article V(a).)
  • The sending agency, via the sending states ICPC office, must notify the receiving state

    Compact Administrator of any change in the child’s status, again using form ICPC-

    100B. Changes of status may include a termination of the interstate placement or such things as a new placement type of the child in the receiving state or a transfer of legal custody.

    Penalties for illegal placements

    Interstate placements made in violation of the Compact constitute a violation of the “laws respecting the placement of children of both the state in which the sending agency is located or, from which it sends or brings the child and of the receiving state” (Article IV). Violators are subject to punishment or penalties in both jurisdictions in accordance with their laws.

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