2. How does the ICPC work?
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The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is an agreement between all fifty states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Compact Agreement provides for the movement and safe placement of children between states when the children are in the custody of a state, being placed for private/independent adoption, or under certain circumstances, being placed by a parent or guardian in a residential treatment facility (RTF). The process involves several steps.
In order for an ICPC placement request to get started, a caseworker (or adoption entity) in the state the child is located creates a packet that includes such items as the child’s social, medical, and educational history and the current status of any court case involving the child. The packet will also include information about the person who is being considered for placement of the child in the receiving state so that the receiving state will know who they should be evaluating for possible placement.
Once the placement request packet is created by the local person in the sending state, it gets sent to the central ICPC office in the sending state (usually the state capital, e.g., Austin, Texas). The ICPC central office in the state makes sure everything is in the packet, approves it for sending out, and then transmits it to the ICPC central office in the state where the child would be sent. Once it arrives in the central office of the receiving state of the proposed placement, that office also looks at the packet and if all is in order, the central office will send it down to the social services agency office in the local community where the prospective placement lives. The social services agency will then go out to the home, meet with everyone in the home, do background screening, and make a determination as to whether the home should be approved for the child to come and live there.
A completed home study report is then sent from the local agency to the central ICPC office in that state and the placement request is either approved or denied based on the recommendation of the home study report. The packet is then sent from the receiving state to the central office in the first state for review. Finally, the local office that started the placement request is sent a copy of the completed home study along with documentation of the receiving state’s decision to either approve or deny the placement request. If the request has been approved by the receiving state, the child can be placed in the chosen home.
While there is much more detail to the process in terms of the forms, financial arrangements for the child, and licensing that may need to be put in place, this is a simple overview of each of the steps that the placement request process will take to go from the local level in one state, through the central office of each state, to the local level in the other state and back again. The process ensures that when children are placed out of state, they are placed in a safe and nurturing environment that can meet their particular needs.