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What is ICPC and Why Should Birth Mothers Know What It Is?

By Kennedy Wood

If you are going through an unexpected pregnancy, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns running through your head right now. If you are a mother who is planning on choosing to proceed with an out-of-state adoption,  you’ll end up having to deal with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

ICPC is part of the process when it comes to out-of-state adoptions and it’s important for mothers to know what to expect during this process. We at Adoption Choices of Kansas are here to help answer any questions you might have about ICPC and how it works.

What is ICPC?

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is an agreement between all 50 states to set a certain standard for adoption. This process was made with the safety of the child in mind. The ICPC will ensure that the potential adoptive family is a good option for a child to be placed with. If they deem the family unfit, then you can no longer proceed with that family.

ICPC is a contract between the expectant mother and the adoptive family. This contract ensures rights are protected on both ends. When the mother has found the family that she wishes to place her baby with, and the ICPC approves, the adoptive family will come to the child and mothers state to begin with the process. 

What is the Main Purpose of ICPC?

The sole purpose of the ICPC is to set a standard for the out-of-state adoption process and ensure the safety of the children involved. Reasons for ICPC include:

  • Ensures safety of children by making sure the adoptive family is a safe option prior to relocation. This allows the receiving state to not proceed with the adoption if the adoptive family deems unfit,
  • Provides potential adoptive families with information on the child so they can make an informed decision,
  • Provides supervision and services once a child is placed,
  • Maintains custody of the sending state until both states agree to closure,
  • Establishes payment responsibility (Kansas Dept. of Social and Rehabilitation Services, ICPC). 

The two parties involved in the adoption process must comply with ICPC as it is part of the law in all 50 states. 

What to Expect When Choosing Adoption

Unfortunately, the ICPC process can be a difficult one when it comes to child adoption. The duration of this process will vary per person depending on processing times. If the two states involved have a long processing time, it may take a little longer to get to and complete the necessary paperwork for the adoption.

Once the baby is discharged from the hospital, the child and the adoptive family cannot leave that state until everything has been approved. From there, the two states will begin forwarding paperwork and going through the legal processes. Once everything has been approved, the attorneys will let you know and the adoptive family and child can go to the other state. 

Why is ICPC Important?

It is very important that mothers understand the role of ICPC and the process before placing their child for adoption. ICPC upholds a certain standard and ensures that you are making the right choice when it comes to your adoptive family. The ICPC will ensure that the adoptive family is safe and that your child will be placed in a loving and safe environment.

The ICPC process also ensures that all legalities are taken care of properly and they will communicate with the two parties’ attorneys throughout the process. This is important for the birth mother because you know you are being kept in the loop of information, and they also will make sure your rights are being protected. ICPC also ensures that your child is not being given to the adoptive family until you have given final consent as the birth mother. Until your final consent is given, they cannot proceed. 

You Are Not Alone in You Adoption Journey

We know that ICPC can feel like a strenuous process just being thrown on top of everything else. Although the process can be frustrating and time-consuming, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, it is there to protect your child. If you are working with an adoption agency alongside your lawyer, they will help you through the process and answer any questions or concerns that you may be having. Even if you have to go through ICPC you will continue to be given the care that you deserve.

Here at Adoption Choices of Kansas, we want to be there every step of the way to guide and empower you through this journey. 


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