Reforming The Interstate Compact
on the Placement of Children:
A New Framework for Interstate Adoption
by Madelyn Freundlich
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children [ICPC], enacted in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, has come under mounting scrutiny by adoption practitioners and policy makers. The ICPC, ostensibly designed to facilitate the interstate placement of children while assuring the suitability of the families with whom they are placed, is being increasingly viewed as a hindrance, rather than a facilitator of adoption, and as a bureaucratic barrier, rather than a tool to promote children's best interests. The role of the ICPC in adoption has not been extensively examined in the legal or social work literature. Legal literature has tended to analyze the Compact itself and make recommendations to enhance its efficacy1. Social work literature has largely ignored it. The literature lacks an analysis of the ICPC that examines the extent to which the ICPC has achieved its purpose in the context of adoption -- both in terms of its substantive provisions and the realities of its implementation on a state by state basis.
This article will examine the ICPC in relation to the role it has played and could play in promoting permanency for children through adoption. It will consider the purpose of the ICPC in relation to adoption, the statutory language and the implementation of the ICPC as it has actually occurred in the states. It will analyze the legal and practice issues that have arisen as attempts have been made to apply the ICPC over the past three decades. Finally, it will make recommendations regarding the regulation of interstate adoption, with an emphasis on timely and dependable facilitation of adoption of children by families who are able to provide them with the love and stability they need.
POLICY AND PRACTICE
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