Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children

Parents listen up. Are you familiar with ICPC: the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children? Did you know your at-risk teen needs to be approved via ICPC prior to placement? Yes, I know it sounds like a headache but it really is for the greater good.

In the past much of the ICPC approval was handled after the fact but because of new legislation, application and approval must be handled prior to placement in a therapeutic environment that is across State lines from your home State.

So, what’s it all about Alfie? In an effort to better insure your teens safekeeping and protection; insure that the Destination school or program you have selected has appropriate support services; and, to be sure that you are equipped to meet fiscal and legal responsibilities of your teen that is being placed across State lines, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children was instituted.

The ICPC is considered to be statutory law for approving children to be placed in a Residential Treatment Center in any State or US Territory which is not considered to be their home State. The Compact is also considered to be a binding contract between all member jurisdictions. The Association of Administrators on the Interstate Compact Placement for Children oversees the implementation of the ICPC and provides ongoing legal and technical support for all parties involved.

The AAICPC Task Force has drafted new legislation that would require Residential Treatment Center placements to notify State to State rather than providing approval for placement. Presently, 12 States have adopted this as law; and, more States have legislation pending. This is actually a good thing as this notification process should accelerate the existing process.

I suppose one way to look at the ICPC is to think of it in terms of a contract existing between parents and/or guardians and the destination State or US territory in which their at-risk teenager will reside. This contract, or Compact as it is more commonly referred, must be enacted in conjunction with placement at therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs and RTCs before your at-risk teen can be transported to the Destination you have selected.

Parents remember to ask the Destination Admissions Director about the ICPC: it is a 2-way document. By this I mean just because the ICPC has been initiated, does not mean that approval has been granted. The timeline varies as well; individual States have different criteria for approval and/or notification so once you have decided on an RTC or other therapeutic environment get to work on the ICPC right away.

The ICPC does not apply to at-risk teens that need placement in a medical or psychiatric facility. In other words if your at-risk teen is out of control and is a danger to others or them-self and needs to be stabilized in a medical facility or admitted to a psychiatric institution the Compact does not apply.

For more information on the ICPC contact the Association of Administrators on the Interstate Compact Placement for Children. Your home State can also help with expediting the process or providing an advocate through the State Child and Family Services division. Most States also have ICPC information on their websites.