Federal Laws Related to Adoption

Federal Laws Governing Adoptions—The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children

Though most laws governing child welfare are enacted by the state, there are federal laws and regulations that affect adoption. One of the most important is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (the “ICPC”).

An Overview of the ICPC

Federal Laws Governing Adoptions—The Interstate Compact on the Placement of ChildrenThe ICPC was enacted to address situations where the birthparents live in one state and the adoptive parents live in another state. It does not apply when all parties reside in the same state.

Under the ICPC, every state is required to have a state-operated agency that reviews and approves interstate adoptions. When a child born in one state will go to live with a family in another state, the ICPC offices in both states must review the proposed placement and approve the adoption before the child can leave his or her home state. Agencies contemplating interstate placements must meet specific guidelines, set forth in Regulation 12, including:

  • The submission of all relevant information about the child, the birthparents or guardians, the agency to who the child will be delivered; and a statement of the reasons why the child will be place in the new home
  • The assumption of legal responsibility during placement
  • The assumption of financial responsibility, unless the birthparents and adoptive parents have signed a binding contract governing financial responsibility

In addition, the sending agency (the agency in the home state of the child) must obtain relinquishment of parental rights, and must provide the receiving state ICPC office with:

  • A copy of the court order granting the sending agency the authority to place the child
  • A current case history of the child
  • Verification of compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act
  • A copy of the most recent home study for the adoptive family

Before the child may travel to the adoptive parents’ state, the ICPC office in that state must provide the sending agency written notice that placement does not appear to be contrary to the perceived best interests of the child.

Contact Adoption Attorneys Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC

At the law office of Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC, our lawyers bring more than 25 years of experience to every matter we handle. Attorney Donald C. Cofsky has personally handled more than 1,500 adoption proceedings since joining the bar in 1974. Attorney Bruce D. Zeidman has protected the interests of clients in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1984. We understand the challenges you face, and can help you identify all your options so that you can make good decisions that are in your best long-term interests.

Contact our office online or call us at (856) 429-5005 in Haddonfield, NJ, at (856) 429-5005 in Woodbury, NJ, or in Philadelphia, PA, at (856) 429-5005.

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