The Interstate Compact On The Adoption Of Children
THE INTERSTATE COMPACT ON THE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a uniform law enacted by all the states, the District of Columbia , and the U.S. Virgin Islands that establishes procedures for the transfer of children between states. The ICPC applies when a child is born in one state and will be transported to adoptive parents living in another. It is an agreement between the states that they will work together to be sure certain protections for the child will be followed when a child is being brought across state lines for adoption. The ICPC is premised on the belief that children requiring out-of-state placement will receive the same protections and services that would be provided if they remained in their home states.
Each state has an Interstate Compact Administrator who reviews all documents and gives the necessary written approval to the adoptive parents to take the child to their state of residence. The sending state (the state in which the child was born) must give approval for the child to leave the state AND the receiving state (the adoptive parent’s home state) must give approval for the child to enter the state. The child cannot leave the sending state until both compact administrators agree that the transfer can be made. It is important for adoptive parents to understand that, under the ICPC, a child may be removed from a potential adoptive placement if the compact’s rules are not followed. Many adoptive parents fear that this administrative process will be very lengthily or difficult. With careful planning and the help of your attorney, the process will go smoothly. It is best to complete and submit the Interstate Compact application at the earliest possible date so that there are no delays in allowing the child to leave the birth state.
It is also advised that the Interstate Compact Administrator of both states be contacted to determine if there will be any special requirements that could complicate the adoption. The recommended processing time from the date the receiving state Compact Office receives the notice of the placement until the date of the placement varies, depending on the states involved. Adoptive couples should expect the ICPC process to take two (2) weeks or longer. The ICPC Administrator will need, at a minimum, the following documents before it can give its approval:
- The ICPC form 100A
- Your home study report with updated criminal background and child-abuse registry checks
- The child’s medical discharge summary and medical information about the child (the Administrator may also require the birth mother’s information)
- A certified decree terminating parental rights or equivalent documents
- Birth parent medical and social background histories
- Birth parent releases of custody and/or proof of notice of the termination hearing
- Proof the putative father registry was checked
- Proof of an offer of counseling in states (including Iowa ) that require such offers or that require counseling
Each state varies as to other required documents. Your attorney should try to determine what else is necessary for the ICPC prior to the child’s birth, if possible.
The Iowa ICPC requirements now include a possible allowance for adoptive couples to leave the state before a final decree of the termination of parental rights. The adoptive parents must execute an “At Risk” statement affirming that they will return the child to the state in the event the adoption cannot be completed. This new process may shorten the length of time that out-of-state adoptive parents will have to spend in Iowa before receiving ICPC approval.