ICPCFamilies who are hoping to adopt – especially if they’re adopting from another state – have undoubtedly heard talk of ICPC. But what exactly is it? Why is it important? And does it apply to your adoption?

Luckily, it’s easy to find out whether you need to worry about ICPC. It will only play a part in your adoption if you are adopting from a state other than the one where you live. If you’re adopting from out-of-state, though, gaining ICPC clearance is a crucial step.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is an agreement between U.S. states and territories that outlines the requirements for interstate adoptions. Before you can bring your baby home, a caseworker or adoption professional in the birth mother’s state must send a packet of information on the child and your family to the state’s ICPC office. From there, the office will approve the information and send it on to your state. Once you have been approved in both states, you will be able to head home with your new baby.

But why is all of this so important? The purpose of ICPC, like most regulations on adoption, is to protect the wellbeing of all adopted children. Because each state has different adoption laws, ICPC ensures that that all interstate adoptions have uniform regulations.

If you have to wait for ICPC clearance before you return home, don’t worry too much.  It just means you will have to stay in the birth mother’s state for seven to ten business days while all of the necessary paperwork is processed.  After that, you will be ready to go home and start life as a new family.

The adoption process is an intricate process with many steps, and gaining ICPC clearance is just another one of those steps. So if you’ve ever wondered what exactly happens in those seven to ten business days, now you know!

For more information, see the AAICPC and ICPC State Pages.