The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC”) is an agreement among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, regarding the adoption of a child across state lines. It applies to all cases in which the adoptive parent(s) reside in a state that is different from the state in which the baby is born. It requires that the placement of a child must comply with the adoption laws of both the “sending” state (the state where the child is born) and the “receiving” state (the state where the child will be adopted).
The ICPC is designed to:
- transition and monitor the child’s placement;
- ensure services when a child crosses state lines from one state to another for adoption purposes, foster care, residential treatment, relative, or institutional care;
- ensure compliance with states’ adoption laws;
- provide that children are returned to the sending state should the placement prove not to be in their best interest or should the need for out-of-state services cease.
The ICPC is not without faults and both placing and adopting parents should be aware that while, in most cases, compliance with both the sending and receiving state’s adoption laws is a smooth process, in others, it presents unique challenges.
Specifics of the ICPC
Many adoptive parents are surprised to learn that each state handles adoptions differently. In the 1960s, some states took steps to try and fix this problem by developing the ICPC and all 50 states eventually signed it. The point of the ICPC is to help each state safeguard the placement of children in homes that are fit for a child hence the reason for needing advance approval before a family crosses state lines with their newly adopted child.
At this time, any non-relative adoption from one state to another state is subject to the rules of the ICPC. This of course includes agency, independent and foster care adoption placements.
The ICPC process cannot begin without a completed home study finding that the adoptive parent(s) are safe and fit to parent a child.
After the baby has been discharged from the hospital, an adoption agency or adoption attorney will submit copies of your home study, the signed consent documents completed by the placing birth parents, hospital discharge information, medical records, accounting of all fees paid, proof regarding applicability of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and other paperwork that was signed to the ICPC office in the “sending” state, where the birth mother resides.
The sending state will review the submission and if approved, will then sign a form called the ICPC 100-A and send the ICPC submission documents and the signed 100-A form directly to the receiving state’s ICPC administrator. When the receiving state reviews the submission and approves the request, its ICPC administrator also will sign the ICPC 100-A. Once both administrators sign the 100-A form, permission to travel with the baby across state lines to the home of the adoptive parents has officially been granted. Adoptive parents will receive a verbal approval that they can travel directly from the ICPC administrator, from the adoption agency, or from the attorney who prepared and submitted the ICPC.
Typically, ICPC approval takes 3-5 business days from being submitted to be approved. However, it could be more or less depending on the circumstances.