Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a uniform law that is enacted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It established orderly procedures for the interstate placement of children, and fixes responsibilities for those involved in placing a child.

Not all of the resources and supports identified on the DCYF website may be available to you because the child you’re caring for is under another's state’s legal jurisdiction.

ICPC's purpose:

  • Children are placed in a safe environment that has been approved by the receiving state (the state where the proposed caregiver lives).
  • The receiving state supervises the placement.
  • The sending state (state that has jurisdiction; where the child is coming from) remains financially and legally responsible for the child.
  • Children are assured of return to their original jurisdictions should placement no longer be in the child’s best interest or need for out-of-state services are no longer required.

Placements covered by ICPC:

  • Placements with parents, relatives, foster care, group homes, and residential facilities when child welfare agencies have jurisdiction.
  • Private placements in residential or group care facilities.
  • Private adoption placements, child welfare agency is not involved.

Placement into Washington State through ICPC

Placement into Washington State through the ICPC for children in another state’s child welfare custody process is outlined below.

Home study process:

  • WA DCYF receives a request, often called an ICPC packet, from the sending state.
  • The ICPC Home Study is assigned to a local worker to complete as requested by the sending state.
  • Please do not attempt to get your own home study through a private agency, this could end up causing additional delays. If the sending state contracts with a private agency for the ICPC home study, that information will be in the ICPC packet.
  • Washington sends a status of a home study called a “preliminary report” to the sending state generally around the 60th day of home study assignment.
  • The full home study may take 2-6 months to complete. Families that are quick to engage, maintain contact with the home study writer, and get paperwork and other tasks completed quickly generally have home studies completed timely.

After the home study:

  • The Washington ICPC Office reports the results and ICPC placement decision, approval or denial, to the sending state’s ICPC office
  • If approved it's valid for 6 months. The sending state makes the determination to place the child.
  • The sending state notifies Washington ICPC when the child is placed. A local worker is assigned to provide courtesy supervision.
  • The child may qualify for medical coverage in Washington State. The courtesy supervision worker will inform you if medical has been opened for the child or if you need to apply.  If medical coverage cannot be accessed in Washington State, the sending state is responsible for accessing medical for the child.
  • The sending state may make foster payments to the caregivers based on their state rules.
  • The sending state maintains their legal jurisdiction, including case planning.
  • When the case plan is return to parent, guardianship or adoption, Washington State will generally supervise for a minimum of 6 months before recommending finalization of the permanent plan.

Key Terms:

ICPC Packet - request for a home study, in addition to required documents such as forms, legal paperwork, the financial/medical plan it also includes child specific information and case plan based on the child’s behaviors and needs.

ICPC Home Study - assessment and report that is completed to have a child placed from another state in their home. The goal of the home study is to assess a family’s ability to provide a safe and healthy environment for young people in a state’s custody.

The family’s home study writer looks at the family’s individual and shared background in many areas that include, but are not limited to:

  • Parenting experience
  • Relationships
  • Support systems
  • Finances
  • Home environment

Jurisdiction - authority based on legal intervention, to make decisions related to the case/child.

Receiving State - state where the caregivers who are being considered live.

Sending State - state that has legal control over case planning and generally jurisdiction.

Courtesy Supervision - visits monitoring the child in their placement and reporting back to the sending state. There is a minimum of one health and safety visit per month, the majority of the visits must occur in the family home.