The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is the mandatory legal process the Agency uses to place a child from one state to another for purposes of foster care and/or adoption. It was enacted to ensure protection and services for foster children that are placed across state lines.



The ICPC was written in the late 1950’s and adopted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Interstate Compact contains 10 “Articles” and 12 “Regulations”.  The Articles define the types of placements and senders subject to the law, the procedures to be followed in making an interstate placement, and the safeguards, services and construction of the law.  The Regulations specify the protocols and the forms required to be used by all the  sending and receiving states and agencies in arranging, making, processing, supervision, and payment for placement.      

See:   http://www.aphsa.org/content/AAICPC/en/home.html


Out of State Visit vs. Placement

A placement is the arrangement for the care of a child in a foster home or in a child-caring agency or institution, including placement with a relative, or into a pre-adoptive home. A visit is intended as only a visit and must be for 30 days or less. For more information on the definition of a “visit” see Regulation Number 9 (link)


General ICPC Process

An ICPC placement request is initiated by the sending state agency.  The “sending agency / state” is the state that has jurisdiction over the foster child. The “receiving agency / state” is the state of the potential placement. The sending state caseworker creates a placement request packet about the foster child and sends it to sending state ICPC central office, which in turn sends it to the receiving state, which in turn sends it to the local social services agency of the potential placement. The social services agency of the potential placement completes a homestudy report for the potential placement and sends it to the central ICPC office of the receiving state, which approves or denies the request and notifies the sending state and the local social services agency in the sending state.  

Of particular importance to the children and their caregivers involved are the Regulations 2 and 6, which set the protocols and deadlines for ICPC processing http://www.aphsa.org/content/AAICPC/en/ICPCRegulations.html


California Law Governing ICPC

In 1975, California adopted the provisions of the ICPC, now found at Family Code Section 7900, et seq. California Family Code Sections 7900 through 7913 discusses appropriate authorities, assessment protocols, time lines, and financial responsibilities.

Persuant to Family Section 7907.3, the ICPC does not apply to the sending or bringing of an Indian child into another state as part of a transfer of jurisdiction to an Indian Tribe.

Sections 7911, and 7911.1 provide that “On and after January 1, 2017, the licensing standards applicable to out-of-state group homes certified by the State Department of Social Services shall be those required of short-term residential treatment centers operated in this state.”


California Rules of Court Rule 5.616 implement for California Courts the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.


California Department of Social Services Child Welfare Services  Manual Division 31-510 provides the CWS procedures for out of state placements.

See http://www.dss.cahwnet.gov/ord/entres/getinfo/pdf/cws1.PDF


H.R. 4472, 114th Congress (2015 -2016)  “Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act” amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to include an electronic case processing system as part of the procedures that a state must have in effect for the orderly and timely interstate placement of children.


Contacting State ICPC Administrators

A state ICPC administrators contact list is available at http://www.aphsa.org/content/dam/AAICPC/PDF%20DOC/Resources/ICPCStateContactList.pdf


The California County liaisons


The Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (AAICPC) was established in 1974 and given oversight authority to see that the protocol operates more effectively. AAICPC does not handle questions about individual cases.  Those questions go to the local placement agency or to the state administrators. To contact AAICPC icpcinbox@aphsa.org.