When you make the decision to adopt, you wait anxiously for the phone call that tells you that you’ve been matched with a child. Today, adoptions from another state are commonplace. With birth parents looking for adoptive parents throughout the United States, it’s not surprising that lots of children find loving homes in a new state.
If you adopt a child from another state, you might hear about the ICPC. The ICPC is the short name for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. It’s a law that applies when a child is adopted to a new state. Here’s what you should know about what the ICPC is and how it affects your interstate adoption from our North Carolina adoption attorneys:
What is 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.
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. Our experienced interstate adoption attorney 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.
Is there any way around ICPC requirements? 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.