When you adopt a child from another state, it is called an interstate adoption and there are special requirements. Interstate adoptions are unique in that adoptive parents must obtain permission from both states before the child can leave and go home with them. These adoptions must follow the rules in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).
All You Need To Know About The ICPC
The ICPC is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. It’s a law that’s been passed in all 50 states and Washington DC. It impacts the movement of children for care out of state. A parent adopting a child from another state has to comply with the ICPC before they can legally bring their child across state lines. The ICPC creates uniform rules that apply in all 50 states when it comes to moving a child across state lines for the purposes of adoption.
The ICPC process can be expensive, frustrating, and exhausting if you are not prepared and are not represented by an experienced adoption lawyer. Compliance with the Compact requires you to leave your home and put your normal routines on hold while you stay in the sending state with the baby waiting of approval to go home.
What does the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children do?
For parents who are adopting, the ICPC creates additional hurdles to jump through before you can bring your child to your home state. Even if you have consent from the biological parents, you still need approval from both states in order to bring your child across state lines. The child’s home state continues to have jurisdiction over the case until the adoption is final.
How do I comply with the ICPC?
To comply with the ICPC, you must send the required information to the ICPC office in your child’s home state. You must include a summary of the plan for the child’s care, a copy of your home study, financial information and medical information for the child. Article III(b) of the ICPC lists the information you’re required to provide:
- The name of the child
- The child’s birthday
- Birthplace of the child
- Your names
- A concise statement of the reasons for moving the child to a new state
Each ICPC office reviews your home study. In fact, one of the common reasons for a delay is an incomplete home study. You also need to fill out standardized forms with all of the required information. Bobby Mills and his 30+ years experience in interstate adoptions in North Carolina can help you ensure that you compile all of the required paperwork for submission.
The ICPC office reviews the information to determine if they think that the move is in the child’s best interests. Your state reviews the information for the same reason. Either office can ask for more information in order to examine the best interests of the child. Only once both states are in agreement that the move is in the best interests of the child does your state give final approval for the child’s move.
As soon as you have word that your child’s ICPC approval has come through, you’re free to take your child home. You can leave immediately. Usually, you find out by email, a phone call or text. Once you’re home, you complete the adoption process.
How does the ICPC work?
Each state has their own ICPC office. It’s a government office. To move a child to a new state for adoption, the adoptive parents must forward the paperwork to the ICPC office in the child’s home state.
If the ICPC office approves the move, they forward the paperwork to the ICPC office in your state. Once your home state approves your paperwork, you get the notice that you’re good to go. You can then return to your home state with your child.
Do I have to finalize my child’s adoption before I move them under the ICPC?
No, you don’t have to finalize your child’s adoption before you move them under the ICPC. In fact, you can move your child as soon as you have ICPC approval. In most cases, you complete your adoption weeks after you introduce your child to your home. If your child has approval from the ICPC offices in both states, you’re free to move your child right away.
What’s the purpose of the ICPC?
The purpose of the ICPC is to protect kids who move for the purposes of temporary care or adoption. There are no federal adoption laws. Each state makes their own adoption laws. The ICPC helps states work together.
Before the ICPC, when a child moved out of state for adoption, the sending state lost jurisdiction over the child right away. If there were problems with the child’s placement after the child moved, the sending state couldn’t help. The ICPC ensures that the move is in the child’s best interests before the child even moves. Once the child moves, the ICPC ensures that the sending state can intervene until the finalization of the adoption.
How long will I spend in my child’s home state waiting for ICPC paperwork?
ICPC paperwork can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. If there are extenuating circumstances that require additional review, the delay may be longer. During that time, you’re required to wait with your child in their home state. Parents typically spend this time bonding as a new family.
What can I do to prepare myself for the ICPC requirements?
It’s important to prepare the ICPC paperwork before you travel to take custody of your child. Children don’t always arrive on schedule, or you may have a last-minute match. It’s important to do as much work as you can ahead of time so that there’s less to do while you’re away from home.
As you think about the time that you’re going to be away, remember that you might be in your child’s home state for several weeks. You may need to arrange with your employer to work remotely or take adoption leave. The time away from home can be hard on families, but you can do what you can to ease the burden by preparing ahead of time.
What happens if I don’t comply with the ICPC?
There are no exceptions to ICPC requirements. If the ICPC applies to your case, you must follow it. A judge can rescind approvals or otherwise unravel your adoption if you fail to comply with the ICPC. Bobby Mills can help you determine if the ICPC applies in your case and help you take the necessary steps to navigate the ICPC as quickly and effectively as possible.
What To Expect During The Placement Process
Although the process can vary from state to state, the process will generally look like this:
- After consents are signed by the mother, then the child is placed in your care.
- Your home study, clearances, and the consents and other placement documents are submitted for review by the ICPC administrator in the state where the baby is born, the sending state.
- If your package is incomplete, the ICPC administrator in the sending state may request additional documents or information. These requests may cause substantial delays and additional expenses.
- After the initial review and approval by the sending state, the package is sent to the ICPC administrator in your home state, the receiving state.
- In the receiving state, the package is reviewed again to determine whether the legal requirements of the receiving state have been met.
- Sometimes the ICPC administrator in the receiving state may also request additional documents or information. Again, these requests may cause substantial delays and additional expenses.
- When the ICPC administrator in your home state gives you approval to enter, the baby can go to its new home.
While this process is underway, the child is in your care in the sending state. You are waiting for approval to go home. While we cannot predict how long the process will take, we usually advise prospective parents to plan on staying in the baby’s home state for at least 2 weeks after birth. Failure to obtain ICPC approval can be grounds to dismiss the adoption.
The ICPC process can be frustrating and expensive. Having the guidance of an experienced adoption lawyer can make it easier. Let us take care of the paperwork, while you take care of the baby.
Experience On Your Side
Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience helping build families through adoption. He can help you with your interstate adoption. We can also connect you with an out-of-state attorney for your ICPC process. Call us today at 919-306-2899 to schedule a consultation.