Overview of ICPC Process:What the Guardian ad Litem Needs to Know H. Stephen Pennypacker, Esq. ICPC Compact Administrator November 18, 2009
Outline • What is the ICPC and why do we need it • When does it apply and when does it not apply • What is the process • Articles of interest • Regulations of interest • ICPC Central Office • What slows an ICPC down • The New ICPC
What is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children? • An agreement created by social service administrators in 1950’s to provide order to the movement of children between states under court jurisdiction • New York was first state to adopt it in 1960 • Adopted by all 50 states, District of Columbia, Virgin Islands • Not adopted by Puerto Rico • 10 Articles, 9 Regulations (Number 2 repealed in 1999) • Articles are statutory (Fla. Stat. 409.401) • Regulations are derivative of articles, adopted by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact
What is the Compact (con’t.)? a) defines the types of placements (parent/relative/foster care/adoptive/residential) and the persons or entities able to make placements subject to the law b) sets out the procedures to be followed in making an interstate placement c) provides specific protections, services, and requirements if placement occurs
Why is the Compact needed? • Provides the sending agency the opportunity to obtain homestudies and an evaluation of the proposed placement. • Allows the prospective receiving state to ensure that the placement is not “contrary to the interests of the child” and that the receiving state’s applicable laws and policies have been followed before approving the placement. • Guarantees the child legal and financial protection by fixing these responsibilities with the sending agency or individual. • Ensures the sending agency does not lose jurisdiction over the child once the child moves to the receiving state. • Provides the sending agency the opportunity to obtain supervision and regular reports on the child’s adjustment and progress in the placement.
What if there were no compact? If there were no compact, the court could send children to another state with no homestudy, no services, no supervision, no obligation to provide support, and no jurisdiction. Conversely, children would be arriving in Florida every day to live in unsuitable, even dangerous homes, with no services, no support, and no supervision – many would end up in our dependency and/or delinquency system or worse.
When does the Compact apply? • Placement preliminary to an adoption, including placements through a public agency, private agencies or attorneys. • Placements into foster care, including foster homes, group homes and residential treatment facilities. • Placements with parents and relatives when a parent or relative is not making the placement.
When does the Compact NOT apply? • Placements made in medical and mental health facilities (although notice of residential treatment placement is made through ICPC) • Boarding schools or “any institution primarily educational in character” • Placement of a child made by and to a parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult aunt or uncle, or child’s guardian • Divorce or custody procedures • International studies or international adoptions • Visits (up to 30 days or summer school vacation) • Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam or Samoa
How do you begin an ICPC • Order of Compliance – entered by court Regular – parent/relative/foster care Intact family – child already placed Priority (Regulation 7) - expedited Court Jurisdiction – supervision closed or non-public agency • Agency (CBC) creates homestudy packet for submission to ICPC central office
Priority ICPC – Regulation 7 • 6. A court order finding entitlement to a priority placement shall not be valid unless it contains an express finding that one or more of the following circumstances applies to the particular case and sets forth the facts on which the court bases its finding: • (a) the proposed placement recipient is a relative belonging to a class of persons who, under Article VIII (a) of ICPC* could receive a child from another person belonging to such a class, without complying with ICPC and; (1) the child is under two (2) years of age; or (2) the child is in an emergency shelter; or (3) the court finds that the child has spent a substantial amount of time in the home of the proposed placement recipient. • (b) the receiving state Compact Administrator has a properly completed ICPC-100A and supporting documentation for over thirty (30) business days, but the sending agency has not received a notice pursuant to Article III (d) of ICPC determining whether the child may or may not be placed. *Parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt or a guardian
Time Frames • From entry of order to packet being uploaded into ICS– 5 business days (non-Reg. 7 case) • Packet to be processed by our office (checked for completeness and sent out) – 2 -3 business days • Packet assigned to other state local office – 14 days • Homestudy completed in other state – 30 – 60 days (Safe and Timely Placement of Children Act of 2006)
Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Children Act of 2006 • Under section 471(a)(26), a State is required to complete • and report on foster and adoptive home studies requested • by another State within60 days. An exception to the 60- • day requirement is provided (but only until 9/30/08) if the • State’s failure to complete the home study within 60 days is • due to circumstances beyond the State’s control (e.g., • delays in receipt of Federal agency background checks). • This exception gives the State 15 more days to complete • and report on the home study. • The State that requested the home study must accept the • completed home study unless, within 14 days of receiving • the report, the State determines that reliance on the report • would be contrary to the child’s welfare. • The parts of the home study involving education and • training of prospective foster and adoptive parents do not • have to be completed within the same 60- (or 75-) day • timeframe. Further, States are permitted to contract with a • private agency to conduct the home study.
Incentive for Timely Completion under Safe and Timely Interstate Placement Federal government authorized $10,000,000.00 to be utilized to pay an incentive to states that completed homestudies within 30 days for non- priority cases But money has never been appropriated!
Article VIII - Limitations This compact shall not apply to: (a) The sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state by his parent, stepparent, grandparent, adult brother or sister, adult uncle or aunt, or his guardian and leaving the child with any such relative or non-agency guardian in the receiving state. (b) Any placement, sending or bringing of a child into a receiving state pursuant to any other interstate compact to which both the state from which the child is sent or brought and the receiving state are party, or to any other agreement between said states which has the force of law.
Regulation 7 (con’t.) • CHILD CANNOT BE 2.5 BUT UNDER 2. • WE WILL SEND IF IT’S A SIBLING GROUP AND AT LEAST ONE CHILD IS UNDER 2 YOA BUT THE OTHER STATE MAY OR MAY NOT ACCEPT AS SUCH. • EMERGENCY SHELTER IS NOT OUR LEGAL STATUS BUT A LICENSED SHELTER FACILITY. • SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TIME IS NOT DEFINED. BEST PRACTICE IS FOR COURT TO MAKE SPECIFIC FACTUAL FINDINGS SO A CLEAR EXPLANANTION OF THE RELATIONSHIP IS SET OUT IN THE ORDER. • IF AN ORDER OF COMPLIANCE IS NEEDED, CAN COMBINE THAT WITH THE PRIORITY ORDER. • Resource: PARENT, STEPPARENT, GRANDPARENT, ADULT BROTHER OR SISTER, ADULT UNCLE OR AUNT, GUARDIAN
New Regulation Being Proposed Existing Regulations Being Modified • AAICPC committees working on a new regulation to govern supervision • Re-writing Regulation 1 (intact family), Regulation 3 (regular ICPC), and Regulation 7 (priority ICPC) • Proposed regulations will be voted upon at AAICPC annual conference in Atlanta, (April 16-20, 2010)
Composition of ICPC Central Office Tallahassee • Seven full-time specialists • Cases assigned by states • Two full-time people in mail room • Approximately 370 new cases per month • Ratio of in state to out of state – 2 to 1
Electronic ICPC System in Florida • Started in spring 2008 • Completed in spring 2009 (some enhancements still desired) • Paperless system within Florida -documents scanned by Florida local for outgoing cases, printed in central office • Ten states accept electronic transmission from Florida at present
Electronic Processing in Florida The New Way - Outgoing Day 1 - Court enters Order of Compliance – attorney for state uploads order to state central office - Central office opens file in Interstate Compact System Desk 1 - Local creates packet and scans, sends to lead agency electronically Desk 2 - Lead agency reviews and uploads to ICS system in Tallahassee (1 – 2 days) Desk 3 – Tallahassee reviews, prints, mails to receiving state (2 – 3 days) or sends electronically Desk 4 – Receiving state reviews, sends to local (2 – 3 days) Desk 5 – Local does homestudy, mails to state capital (14 – 60 days) Desk 6 – state capital reviews, sends to other state capital (2 – 3 days) Desk 7 - state capital receives, scans, uploads into ICS (1 – 2 days), transmittal automatically generated Desk 8 – lead agency sends to local (2 -3 days) Total time (with states that do not process electronically) 26 – 77 days Total time (ideal): for states that also process electronically (Oregon, Texas, Ohio, Vermont, Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Idaho, Washington, D.C. ) can be as little as two weeks – no paper, no mail, no overnight delivery For private adoptions with approved homestudy as part of packet – verbal approval can be given in less than 24 hours
Automatic E-mails • When transmittal saved • When homestudy completed date filled in • When Order of Compliance rendered date filled in • Batch e-mails at night: 25 days from date homestudy sent down to local 55 days from date homestudy sent down to local
A National Electronic ICPC Data Base - Imagine All ICPC homestudy request packets, transmittals, etc., sent electronically Central tracking system No lost files Current status of request available without telephone call, e-mail, or subpoena Private adoption approvals the same day packet received What else can you think of?
National Electronic ICPC • Web based system behind secure firewall for security • SACWIS compatible • Read only access for critical stakeholders (ICPC central offices, courts, case managers, Department attorneys, Guardian ad Litem) • Centralized data collection