Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
The ICPC is a contract among member states and U.S. territories authorizing them to work together to ensure that children who are placed across state lines for foster care or adoption receive adequate protection and support services. The ICPC establishes procedures for the placement of children and fixes responsibility for agencies and individuals involved in placing children. To participate in the ICPC, a state must enact into law the provisions of the ICPC. In 1975, California adopted the provisions of the ICPC, now found at Family Code Section 7900, et seq. This statute designates the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) as "the appropriate public authority" responsible for administration of ICPC.The purpose of the ICPC is to protect the child and the party states in the interstate placement of children so that:
- The child is placed in a suitable environment;
- The receiving state has the opportunity to assess that the proposed placement is not contrary to the interests of the child and that its applicable laws and policies have been followed before it approves the placement;
- The sending state obtains enough information to evaluate the proposed placement;
- The care of the child is promoted through appropriate jurisdictional arrangements; and
- The sending agency or individual guarantees the child legal and financial protection.
The need for the ICPC grew out of work performed in the late 1950’s when a group of social service administrators and state legislators informally studied the problems of placing children out-of-state for adoption or foster care.
Although some federal statutes regulated interstate movement they did not provide protection for children moved between states. The group found that a sending state, in the absence of the ICPC, could not compel the receiving state to provide protection or support services for a child. In addition, a receiving state, in the absence of the ICPC, could not compel a sending state to remain financially responsible for the child. In response to this group’s findings, the ICPC was drafted. Currently, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have joined the ICPC. Each member of the ICPC appoints a Compact Administrator that is responsible for the administration of the ICPC in it's jurisdiction. In California, the Compact Administrator is the Deputy Director of the CDSS Children and Family Services Division.
In California, requests for out-of-state placements into residential treatment facilities and group homes are centralized and processed by the CDSS Out-of-State Placement Policy Unit. The CDSS has delegated the responsibility and functions associated with interstate placement requests in relative homes, foster family homes and prospective adoptive homes to counties and licensed adoption agencies. Each county has an ICPC Liaison who processes interstate foster care placements, including relative and non- offending parent placements. The CDSS and county adoption agencies process public agency interstate adoptions. Private agency adoptions are processed by California full-service licensed adoption agencies. Interstate independent adoptions are processed through the CDSS Adoptions Regional and Field Offices and the counties of Alameda, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
In 1974, the ICPC administrators formed the Association of Administrators of the ICPC (AAICPC) to provide technical and support services to its members. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) acts as the Secretariat to the Association of Administrators. The APHSA is a non-profit organization that represents a variety of state interests in the field of health and human services. For further information, the AAICPC may be contacted at:
810 First Street, NE, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20002-4267
FAX (202) 289-6555
AAICPC website: www.aphsa.org/content/AAICPC/en/home.html