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July/August 2011Vol. 12, No. 6Border Agreements Between States Expedite Placements of Children

Sometimes the best emergency placement for a child in State custody can be with a relative who lives nearby but in a neighboring State, and therefore, subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). In recent years, a handful of States have entered into agreements with their neighbor States to expedite these types of placements.

One such agreement is between the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and the Oregon Department of Human Services. The ICPC Border Agreement applies specifically to the border counties of each State, and it establishes an expedited process to assess the safety and suitability of prospective caregivers who have an existing relationship with the child. The agreement is intended to increase the timeliness of interstate placements of children within the defined geographic area and reduce the placement of children in foster homes where children do not know their caregivers.

The text of the agreement is available on the Washington Department of Social and Health Services website:

Another example of a border agreement is one between the northeast region of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services and the Virginia local Departments of Social Services for several counties in southwest Virginia. In this agreement, an individual who is a relative or person with whom the child has a significant relationship but who resides out-of-State but within the regions specified in the agreement may be considered for temporary placement, without the child being placed in the State foster care system in either State. 

Details of this agreement can be found on pages 104-108 of The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children Procedures Manual, published by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.