• June 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 5

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Initiatives to Improve Interjurisdictional Placement

Caseworkers who place children across State lines for foster care, kinship care, or adoption face a number of barriers. Recent developments at the national level reflect the efforts of stakeholders and the Federal Government to address these challenges.

New Interstate Compact

A new Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) has been written to address many of the barriers that States face when they attempt to place children across State lines. Currently, all States and the District of Columbia are members of the original ICPC, which was written in 1960 and later approved by the individual State legislatures. Despite its unanimous adoption by States, many policymakers, caseworkers, and casework supervisors have noted problems with the current ICPC, especially as it relates to timeliness for adoption.

The new compact attempts to eliminate some of the ambiguities in the original compact, as well as narrow the scope of applicability, provide for enforcement, and comply with Federal regulations for the timely placement of children. A task force of stakeholders from State social services, national organizations, the private sector, and the Federal Government has been working on the revision for 2 years, convened by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA).

Among its highlights, this new charter:

  • Narrows the applicability of the ICPC, such that it does not apply to intercountry adoptions or to most placements of children made by their parents; the focus of the new ICPC is on children involved with the child welfare system
  • Clarifies the authority of the courts and judicial officers in the retention of jurisdiction
  • Provides a child-centered definition of the assessment of a prospective placement (home study)
  • Specifies the responsibilities of the sending and receiving States
  • Creates an Interstate Commission, including rules for its operation, authority, and funding

As with the original ICPC, each State’s legislature will need to approve this new compact before it can be applied in that State.

The full text of the proposed ICPC and a document that lists highlights are available on the APHSA website:

www.aphsa.org/Home/Doc/Interstate-Compact-for-the-Placement-of-Children.pdf (PDF - 123 KB)

www.aphsa.org/Home/Doc/Highlights-of-New-ICPC.pdf (PDF - 102 KB)

(Editor's note: The above links are no longer active. For more information about ICPC, visit the website for the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, an affiliate of APHSA, at



Federal Leadership in Interjurisdictional Placement

The Federal Government has provided leadership in interjurisdictional placement through Children's Bureau initiatives. In 2004, the Bureau commissioned a survey of States to identify promising practices for the placement of children across State lines. The purpose of the survey, conducted in 2005, was to inform and guide the Children’s Bureau’s technical assistance strategy to the States in the area of interjurisdictional placement. Information about promising interjurisdictional practices gathered from survey respondents has been shared with State foster care and adoption managers in regional round tables and with the ICPC Administrators at their annual conference. Additional activities based on the recommendations developed by the survey workgroup are planned for the future, including a cross-State website for State-specific information on home approval practices and child placement procedures. Following up on this survey, a Report to Congress was drafted to inform lawmakers about these issues and the ways in which Federal agencies and State governments have addressed interjurisdictional placement.


Related Items

Children’s Bureau Express covered the ICPC in the following articles:

  • "Placing Children Across States" (February 2006)
  • "Newly Modified APHSA Database to Assist With ICPC" (November/December 2001)


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