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TN ICPC – It’s not so bad! | Adoption Law

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is a uniform law that has been enacted in every State in the United States. The purpose of the Compact is to keep up with vulnerable children that are traveling from one State to another for purposes of foster care and/or adoption.

If you’ve heard of ICPC, you’ve probably heard horror stories of prospective adoptive parents being trapped in a hotel room in another State with an infant, without any of the comfort and support of being home with family. This does happen, but typically not because of the Tennessee ICPC office. The reason folks get stuck for weeks on end with a newborn outside of their home state is because different states have different requirements for terminating the birth parents’ rights. For example, there may be a waiting period before a birth parent can consent to (in Tennessee, this is called surrender) terminate her parental rights.

There may be delays due to the Court’s schedule for obtaining custody or guardianship. Once all of the documents are prepared, they are submitted to the ICPC office in the sending State for approval. Sometimes the approval occurs as quickly as the same day. The Tennessee ICPC office does not accept applications via email, so the package is typically overnighted to Tennessee once the sending State approves. Tennessee reviews the application, and once they approve as the receiving State, you are notified to come home. Tennessee ICPC looks to the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) Regulation 12 for guidance. Find it here:

If you are an attorney with questions about the Tennessee ICPC process, feel free to contact me. I am always willing to talk through difficult legal issues regarding adoption.