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Dec/Jan 2009Vol. 9, No. 10How the Children's Bureau Supports Interjurisdictional Placement

Every year, child welfare agencies place thousands of children with foster parents, prospective adoptive parents, or relatives who live in other States. The Children's Bureau actively supports interjurisdictional placement of children to achieve their permanency plans and has developed a number of initiatives to further these efforts.

Interjurisdictional placements include placements between counties and judicial districts and across State lines. Agencies placing children across State lines are required to follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a binding agreement adopted by all States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands designed to safeguard children placed outside their own jurisdiction. By establishing responsibilities for sending and receiving States, the ICPC provides a consistent process for agencies to follow in out-of-State placements. As an agreement that exists exclusively among States, the Federal Government has no part in administering or implementing the ICPC.

Children's Bureau efforts on behalf of interjurisdictional placements for children include support for the ICPC and other initiatives in order to achieve the goal of safety, permanency, and well-being for all children. These efforts include:

  • Report to Congress. In 2006, the Children's Bureau completed the Report to Congress on Interjurisdictional Adoption of Children in Foster Care. This report provides a historical perspective about interjurisdictional placement and identifies relevant issues according to States' concerns and interests. States' successful strategies for achieving interjurisdictional placement are outlined, as are Children's Bureau efforts to facilitate the interstate placement process through the Child and Family Services Reviews, the Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Network, and discretionary grants. (218 - KB)
  • Survey of States. Also in 2006, the Children's Bureau issued a comprehensive report, Interjurisdictional Placement of Children in the Child Welfare System: Improving the Process, which included results from a survey of child welfare leaders in 48 States regarding challenges to timely interjurisdictional placement. In addition, the report collected solutions to these challenges, listing 151 strategies. (1,237 - KB)
  • Participation on the ICPC Committee. To address ambiguities in the original 1960 version of the ICPC, the Association of Administrators of the ICPC (AAICPC) drafted a new version in 2006. The Children's Bureau had representation on the ICPC Development and Drafting Team. (66 - KB)
  • T&TA efforts. The Children's Bureau T&TA Network offers assistance and resources to States. Three members that list related publications on their website include the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning, AdoptUsKids, and Child Welfare Information Gateway.
  • ICPC training manuals. From 1999 to 2002, a Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities grant funded the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) as the secretariat of ICPC in the development of training manuals for juvenile and family court judges, caseworkers, and ICPC administrators. Contact AAICPC for more information.
  • Report on staffing State ICPC office. Under the same grant that funded the training manuals, APHSA released a report in 2002 that outlined staffing policies and strategies in State ICPC offices. Staffing of State Offices of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children was based on a survey designed to measure the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act on ICPC administrators.
  • Grants to promote interstate cooperation. Children's Bureau Adoption Opportunities grants have funded partnerships among States to help them facilitate interstate placement. Grantees developed partnerships to resolve interjurisdictional challenges and expedite interjurisdictional placements. For instance, grant reports are available on efforts by (1) California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington and (2) South Carolina and Georgia.

The Children's Bureau is committed to safe and timely permanency for all children, no matter where their permanent home may be. For more information on Children's Bureau initiatives, visit the website: