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Understanding The Interstate Compact On The Placement Of Children

Once the necessary documentation is in order and is received in the ICPC office of the "Sending State" a determination is made as to whether or not the information is complete and in the proper form. Assuming all is well, the documents are then sent to the ICPC office in the "Receiving State". Absent any problems, the "Receiving State" will initiate the services requested, (e.g., Adoptive Home Study, etc).

Upon receipt of a completed pre-placement study and all other necesssary documents, an approval or denial of the placement is made. If the recommendation is favorable, written confirmation will be sent to the parties or their respective counsel. It is at this time, and this time only, that the prospective adoptive parents can remove the child from the "Sending State".

One's failure to follow Compact procedures violates the laws of the "Sending" and "Receiving" states. The Compact itself does notexpressly prescribe criminal sanctions for non-compliance, although statutes in many states do. A review of the litigation involving compact violators, reveals that sanctions received differ widely among the member states.

In the Matter of the Adoption of TMM - 608 P 2d 130 (Montana Superior Court, 1979), baby is born in Mississippi, birth mother signs her consent to the adoption and the prospective adoptive parents and baby travel from Mississippi to Montana without complying with the ICPC. After arriving home in Montana, the prospective adoptive parents filed their Adoption Petition. However, the natural mother had a change of heart and wished to withdraw her consent. Since the adoptive parents failed to comply with the ICPC regulations, the Montana Supreme Court allowed the birth mother to withdraw her consent and ordered that the child be removed from the prospective adoptive parents' home.

In another case, the birth mother gave birth to a child in Minnesota and accompanied the prospective adoptive parents to their home in New York where her consent was taken. The parties did not comply with the Compact. When this was brought to the attention of the New York Trial Judge, he reduced the attorney's fees.

Licensed agencies who do not comply with the Compact risk loosing their license.

In most instances, it is not difficult to satisfy the ICPC requirements. In adoptions, problems arise when preparations are not made prior to the birth of the child, causing frustrating delays which, in some instances, ultimately lead parties to disregard the Compact in whole or part.

Caveat

The foregoing should be considered general information regarding the Interstate Compact and this writer recommends that direct contact with an attorney or the Compact Administrator in the "Sending" and "Receiving" states should be made prior to proceeding with any adoption plan.

For additional information, please call MARC WIDELOCK at 1-800-MR-STORK .

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