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Understanding ICPC: Interstate Adoption

Matched with a birthmother who lives in a different state? Adoption Connection will be sure to coordinate something called ICPC. Here is what you need to know:

What is ICPC?

ICPC stands for “Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.” It is an agreement among all 50 states establishing procedures for interstate adoption placements. ICPC must be completed if the child being placed for adoption is born in a state different from the one in which the adoptive parents reside.

Why was it enacted?

Enactment of ICPC began in 1960. It was prompted by concerns that states could not ensure that infants and children placed through private and public adoption were receiving proper care and supervision once they crossed state lines.

How does ICPC affect interstate domestic adoptions?

If an infant is born in a state other than the state in which the adoptive parent(s) reside(s), a packet of documents must be exchanged between the states involved. Both states must grant consent before the adoptive family returns to its home state with the child. When a child is placed with an adoptive family, the “sending” adoption agency (where child is born) must obtain the permission of the “receiving” state (where adoptive parents reside) prior to the child’s departure from the state of his or her birth.

When Adoption Connection facilitates an adoption with another out-of-state agency, we serve as the ICPC Administrator for California. We send and receive the appropriate paperwork from the other agency and make sure that all appropriate counseling and paperwork are completed in accordance with California adoption law. We then grant the adoptive family permission to come home.

How long do families typically wait before they receive approval to return to California?

Most families must stay in the state in which the baby was born for about one week to 10 days following the baby’s birth. However, clearance to go home can take as few as five days, and, in rare instances, as many as 14 days, depending on the state.  We work with the out-of-state agency and ICPC office as fast as we can so that you can return home with your baby as soon as possible.

Does ICPC increase the cost of an out-of-state adoption?

Generally speaking, the answer is yes. The ICPC process takes administrative time for both the sending and receiving agencies. The adoptive family will be informed of relevant charges prior to proceeding with an adoption.

Should an adoptive family consider interstate adoption situations?

Absolutely, an adoptive family should keep all of their options open and consider birthmothers throughout the United States. Adoption Connection has completed hundreds of interstate adoptions, and we take all the necessary steps in advance to ensure that the ICPC process runs as smoothly as possible.

Learn more about the California ICPC requirements at the California Department of Social Services.

Have a specific questions about this process? Contact us, we’d be happy to discuss the process with you anytime.

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