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Senate Approves Adopting New Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children

April 12, 2012

Streamlines the placement and adoption process for children and families across the nation

(Boston) – The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation filed by Senator Karen Spilka to adopt a new Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which monitors children placed across state lines for the purposes of foster care or adoption.

“The current Compact is outdated and must be changed to ensure that children are placed with guardians, foster parents, or adoptive parents that are safe, suitable, and can provide proper care,” said Spilka. “I am pleased that the Senate passed this bill to ensure better coordination among states. It will create a more efficient, effective, and fair process to make sure our children receive the same protections and services in all member states.”

This legislation replaces the 52-year-old Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which critics say lacks sufficient enforcement mechanisms, is overly broad in its application, and can make the placement process lengthy and burdensome for children, guardians, and families. The bill puts into place a more effective mechanism focused on finding timely and appropriate placements while ensuring that member states comply with their obligations.

The updated compact creates an Interstate Commission, an administrative body comprised of one representative from each state, to promulgate rules and regulations to ensure uniformity in the administration of the ICPC. All meetings of the Commission are open to the public.

The updated Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children also:

  • Specifies the circumstances under which the Compact applies to ensure consistency in the application of the Compact across the states;
  • Ensures coordination with other interstate compacts, namely the Interstate Compact for Juveniles and the Interstate Compact for Adoption;
  • Establishes a critical legal foundation to strengthen rulemaking and enforcement authority;
  • Clarifies the responsibilities of the sending and receiving states to better ensure the judicious placement of children across state lines;
  • Establishes timelines for the approval process for placements and adoptions to ensure they are conducted in a more timely and efficient manner;
  • Allows states to enter into limited agreements to facilitate the timely assessment and supervision of placements under the contract; and
  • Takes into account important societal changes that have occurred since the adoption of the current Compact, such as the development of the interstate highway system and the Internet, which can help place children in a timelier manner.

The updated ICPC would become effective and binding once 35 states have passed implementing legislation. Currently, 12 states have passed the new Compact, including Maine, Florida, Oklahoma, Delaware, Indiana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Louisiana.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further action.


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