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Resources for Interjurisdictional Placements
It’s the Law – States Must Consider Interjurisdictional Placements
Federal law makes it clear that States are not allowed to use jurisdictional barriers as a justification for delaying or denying permanency for a child. As specified in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 and reinforced by the Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006, States are required to consider interjurisdictional placements.
How We Can Help
We have a variety of services and tools to help your agency embrace interjurisdictional placements as a great option for achieving permanency, demystifying the process, and supporting your efforts in working across jurisdictional boundaries:
- Key Elements for Effective Interjurisdictional Placements
- Interjurisdictional Materials You Can Use
- Free Interjurisdictional Consulting and Technical Assistance
- Free Photolisting Services
- Ideas From the Field
- Other Organizations With Interjurisdictional Resources
Interjurisdictional placements involve placing a child for foster care or adoption with a family who lives in a different jurisdiction from the one responsible for the child. For example, in a county-based child welfare system, you may encounter interjurisdictional issues between county departments and courts. More often, however, the term interjurisdictional is applied to placements involving movement of a child across state, territory, or national boundaries.
To support successful interjurisdictional placements, your agency should:
- Establish that permanency has priority over geography
- Educate various stakeholders (staff, judges, private agencies) about interjurisdictional laws, policies, and procedures
- Evaluate internal policies and procedures related to interjurisdictional practice
- Operate with a can-do attitude and be a barrier buster
- Develop a tracking system to monitor the progress of the case through the interstate placement process
- Include interjurisdictional options in child and family preparation
- Use online resources and tools that support interjurisdictional practice (such as registering your agency with AdoptUSKids for free photolisting services)
- Develop partnerships to better facilitate interjurisdictional placements (such as border agreements, purchase-of-service contracts, etc.)
- Request consulting and technical assistance to bolster system-wide policies and practices that support interjurisdictional work
- Key Elements and Strategies for Effective Interjurisdictional Work (PDF – 2.2 MB): This publication focuses on real strategies and system elements that child welfare professionals have highlighted as being effective ways to support and use interjurisdictional placements in child welfare work. It includes real case studies of interjurisdictional placements and tools and resources to help build agencies’ capacity for interjurisdictional placements.
- Agency Readiness Assessment for Interjurisdictional Placements (PDF – 148KB): This self-assessment form helps agencies identify their existing capacity for supporting and making interjurisdictional placements, focusing on the areas of training, system supports, evaluation, and recruitment.
Beyond Borders: Achieving Child Permanence Across Geographic Boundaries (Flash – 20:23 min.): A film produced by AdoptUSKids featuring professionals sharing stories and expertise about the value of interjurisdictional placements and how to make them work.
- Beyond Borders DVD Companion Guide (PDF - 260KB): Discussion questions you can use with administrators, managers, supervisors, and front-line personnel with the video above
- Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Receiving and Sending State Checklists: These checklists are meant to serve as a general guide on how ICPC operates for children and youth being placed across state lines. Not all steps in the lists will necessarily apply to cases in your State. If in doubt, check with your state’s ICPC administrator.
We offer free consulting services for public agencies, including on-site and off-site technical assistance that can be customized to meet your agency’s needs. Whether you work for a State, Tribe, or Territory, we’re here to help you find more timely permanency options for your agency’s waiting children through the use of interjurisdictional resources.
Photolistings and adoption exchanges play a vital role in facilitating interjurisdictional placements. There are thousands of home study-approved families on our website just waiting to provide a permanent home to children in foster care. Find out how to identify hundreds of possible matches for children on your caseload by registering your agency with AdoptUSKids.
- Develop border agreements with neighboring states or counties establishing clear procedures for allowing interjurisdictional practices and placements. For example, a border agreement might allow agency workers to cross specific county or regional borders to conduct home studies or placement supervision. States that share borders might negotiate a cooperative border agreement that insures timely response to home study requests by the receiving State. For an example of an existing boarder agreement, read this press release from the Oregon Department of Human Services (PDF – 134KB) about their agreement with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.
- Engage and welcome military and global families as possible permanency options for children in foster care. Military families stationed overseas, other American citizens residing abroad, and foreign nationals are expressing interest in adopting children from the U.S. foster care system. Find out more about how to engage military families in your recruitment efforts with the resources below:
- Why Should I Go the Extra Step to Place a Child for Adoption With an American Military Family Living in Another Country? (PDF – 220 KB)
- Wherever My Family Is, That's Home! Adoption Services for Military Families (PDF – 1.9 MB)
You can also find out more about other available adoption resources for military families.