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Dec/Jan 2007Vol. 7, No. 9Overcoming Barriers to Interjurisdictional Placement

While placements in foster or pre-adoptive homes across State lines may be in the best interests of many children in the child welfare system, such placements are often delayed due to complications in the interjurisdictional placement process. A new report from the Children's Bureau provides recommendations for addressing the delays and complexities of these placements. Interjurisdictional Placement of Children in the Child Welfare System: Improving the Process is based on a survey of 48 States about strategies and supports for overcoming barriers to interjurisdictional placement. State child welfare directors identified 85 strategies and supports that were widely used, highly effective, or of significant interest.

A national workgroup reviewed the survey results and formulated 10 recommendations to provide focus for a national reform strategy to remove barriers to interjurisdictional placements. The recommendations are not intended to elicit additional Federal regulations but are designed as steps for technical assistance and for national organizations supporting improved processes. The steps include:

  • Develop a national uniform home study template
  • Provide training on interjurisdictional issues to judges and other court personnel
  • Create a national website of State requirements, including criminal background checks, home study requirements, and more
  • Clarify Federal expectations on accountability, especially for Child and Family Services Reviews
  • Change laws or policies so that receiving States cover educational expenses
  • Set and enforce reasonable deadlines for processing requests for criminal records checks and fingerprinting
  • Factor interstate duties into workers' caseloads
  • Identify model practices and policies
  • Develop mechanisms for participation by attorneys and other parties in out-of-State reviews
  • Arrange purchase-of-service contracts with agencies to conduct home studies

The Children's Bureau is working with its technical assistance providers to integrate many of these strategies and supports into the assistance available to States and Tribes.

The full report, which was prepared by Barbara Dalberth, Jennifer Hardison, Deborah Gibbs, and Susan Smith, can be downloaded from the website of the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning: (PDF - 1,200 KB)

Related Items

Children's Bureau Express last covered the issue of interjurisdictional placement in the following articles:

  • "Initiatives to Improve Interjurisdictional Placement" (June 2006)
  • "Interstate Placement for Adoption" (March 2004)