The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)

Working Hand in Hand for Your Relative in Kinship Foster Care

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)You get an unexpected call informing you a relative who lives in another state has been placed into foster care. After the initial feeling of shock leaves, you realize immediate action must be taken. You want to bring the child into your home and give him the support he needs after such a traumatic experience, but you may be unsure of the steps involved.

Moving to another state in and of itself can be a daunting task. For a relative in kinship foster care it can be even more so. A new environment can prove to be overwhelming, especially if the child does not have all the resources needed for a successful transition. It can be overwhelming for you as well since this may be the first time you have been faced with this situation. Thankfully, in the United States, there is a system that has been put into place that protects the child and assists you in obtaining the right to care for him in your state of residence. It’s called the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC), and it is here to assist you with the steps you need to take in the best interest of your relative.

The History and Purpose of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

What is an Interstate Compact exactly? Simply put, it is an agreement between two states. More specifically, the Interstate Compact Placement of Children offers provision for children in care who are moved from one state to the next. According to a manual produced by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Public Human Services Association,the overall purpose of the ICPC is to protect everyone involved in the placement process (the child and the states that are affiliated).The ultimate goal is that your relative is placed in a secure environment and that all of the proper arrangements have been made so he can have full legal, medical and financial protection.

Steps and Process of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

There is more than one way to initiate the ICPC process. If you have the name and contact information of your relative’s caseworker, you can reach out to him or her to be considered for kinship care. Also, if you are named as a possible caregiver by the child’s biological parents, their state (the sending state) can notify the state in which you reside (the receiving state) specifically naming you as a resource and requesting your state to license you as a resource parent. The ICPC request becomes active when you are named as a potential caregiver. A Child Welfare representative in your state of residence will then begin the required licensing process, which includes your home study. Once the home study is complete, it will be sent to the state where the child is in custody, and if the process is approved, the child will eventually be transferred to your home.

Challenges of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

While the ICPC is a great benefit there are some challenges that arise. It is important to note that there is no guarantee your relative in care will be placed into your home. It is possible you will not be the only relative named that can provide care to the child. If there is another relative that offers a more viable option that is in the better interest of the child (closer to his biological parent, closer to other siblings, etc.), he will be placed in their home or stay in the care of the current foster home. Since your relative is in state custody, it is ultimately up to the Judge and the casework staff to make the final determination. Remember, their goal is to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. Another challenge is the actual length of the process. Because you are a relative, some of the licensing process may go faster, but because you are out-of-state, the ICPC process increases this length of time. The child cannot be placed into your home until you are fully licensed.

We Are Here For You

For Licensed Resource Parents in New Jersey, Foster and Adoptive Family Services (FAFS) is here to address any questions you have concerning the ICPC process. If you have a relative in care and would like to know what steps you need to take to become licensed in New Jersey, we can get you started on that path. Our Information Line staff and FAFS Family Advocates (FFAs) are trained and eager to help you. You can reach FAFS by calling 1.800.222.0047, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m or contacting us online.

To find resources in your area that can assist you with the ICPC process, visit the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) here.

Know that as you go through this, you are not alone. There is help out there and doors of assistance waiting to be opened by you. Working in hand in hand with the ICPC can have your relative in your care before you know it!

8 thoughts on “The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC)

  1. I would like to know why it takes so long for adoption to go through for a relative adoption. I know of a couple that is trying to adopt their niece from Minnesota. They have been trying to get her since before October. Since before this summer. They have been told that she would be with them before the end of October and then before Thanksgiving and not has happened. There has been shorter adoption times then this. And not so many delays. They are getting frustrated and disappointed of the process. Why is it taking so long. I think this needs to be taken care of by the end of the year so they this young girl can get on with her life with some one that is going to love her and take care of her. PLEASE help this couple finalize this adoption. This young girl has been waiting to long to have a stable home and someone that will love her no matter what. And why can’t this girl go live with them while they are in the process of the adoption. They have done all the home studies and background checks and every thing else that had to be done. So why is it taking so long. All this was done way back in October.

    • Termination of parental rights and adoption can be a very lengthy process and is different for each family whether a relative or not. There are many things that can delay this process such as court delays, new information on the family, ect. Child Protection Services in each state must prove to the courts that this is the only option for the child to have a safe and permanent home in order to move forward with this permanency plan. It is taken very seriously and due to this the process can be delayed and can be very meticulous. Situations where a child or children are out of state can also cause the process to take longer as each state and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) need to all work together to ensure the child is placed safely. ICPC oversees all children moving through state lines in regards to foster, kinship and adoptive care.

      It can be very frustrating for the adoptive family; however they cannot look at other adoptions and compare their experience as each family and adoption is very different and comes with different challenges. Unfortunately, we cannot answer why the process is taking a lengthy amount of time as we do not know the family or the case. We would be happy to assist this family; however the family would need to reach out to us directly to assist them.

  2. While ICPC does provide some safe guards in placing the child outside of the child’s home, the process itself takes entirely too long to complete while children are being left in fostercare.

    • So true! I agree 100%. I’ve been waiting since May. Already did all that home study stuff and classes, still nothing & never told anything either. Just hanging in limbo all the time.

      • What I found helpful in the ICPC placement process, you must stay diligent. I would say call your worker, the child’s worker and both ICPC offices in both states to find out where things are. If possible attend court dates and get copies of court documents after each date. Most people are helpful and will help in the process. Know dates of when documents are sent and the how they are sent electronically or US mail. Know the normal processing times. Each state has an ICPC pages and contact information. It’s process and but you must be your advocate for your self and the child in the process. Also try to attend the family support meetings and get a print out after each meeting. Those meetings if they happen provides a guideline to the court and all involved parties what the plan is and the wishes parents and any other family member that is involved. Sorry not much help but will keep you all in prayer that your cases move swiftly, positively in the best interest of the child and for love, growth and prosperity in your family.

  3. I would think a major problem would arise if the state, where parents resided, did not terminate parental rights before the child was returned to another state.
    The entire case would have to be under exparte conditions
    all during child stay. Nothing permanent except dismissal.
    A child should never be moved without parental rights termination. A state can not terminate parental rights when parents don’t reside in it, at time of child’s removal.

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