While New Jersey’s DCPP aims to either reunify families where a child has been placed in foster care or facilitate an easy placement of the child into a permanent care option with someone other than their biological parent, there are times when the adoption process involves prospective parents that are far away from the biological family home. Because of that, nationwide legislature was passed to ensure the protection of children adopted in another state than the one in which they were previously living.
This law – the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) — provides legally-enforceable guidelines on when and how a child may be placed across state lines. The ICPC covers specific placements such as those with foster families, with adoptive families prior to adoption, and with other parents or relatives as well as the procedures for achieving them. In addition, the compact also outlines what protections it places on children being adopted across state lines and the legal enforcement of them. Our attorneys could further explain the purpose of the ICPC in Short Hills and how it may apply to your case.
Children are vulnerable in interstate placements, especially when far from family. Even though their biological parent may have lost or terminated their parental rights and the screening process for the adoptive parents was carried out with due diligence, there is still uncertainty and potential danger when a child is adopted by a family far from their former home. Thus, having a federal law to establish how to protect these children was both necessary and vital to ensure interstate adoptions can be as beneficial as a more local permanent placement.
To accomplish this, the ICPC does a few specific things:
New Jersey’s CPS agency, the DCPP, is required to make reasonable efforts to place children in their home jurisdictions, ideally near siblings and in their same school district. But when interstate placement is the best or only option in a Short Hills case, a process governed by the articles in the ICPC begins. This involves a specific ICPC request submitted by the adoption agency on behalf of the prospective family. This request serves to collect all pertinent information about the child, their biological family and previous home situation, and various legal documents showing the process leading up to this point, then sharing them between the biological parents’ home state and that of the prospective adoptive parents. This serves to have both states examine the elements and factors leading up to this point and provide their individual approvals of the adoption, should the standards set by the ICPC be met.
A Short Hills parent whose child is being put in foster placement should speak with Williams Law Group for counsel and guidance on their situation and the ICPC. An experienced attorney can explain how foster placement works, what protections the child will be granted, and how the parent can stay involved in the process. While DCPP is focused on the ultimate welfare of the child, their caseworkers, unfortunately, aren’t always able to provide personalized guidance during this process. Thus, many parents feel overwhelmed and threatened when their child is taken from them. A legal advocate from Williams Law Group can ensure your child’s rights are defended and that you stay rightfully involved in his or her placement.