E-Notes, the monthly newsletter from the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.
Children and youth in care benefit when child welfare systems have processes in place to support effective and efficient interjurisdictional work. Interjurisdictional work can involve challenges; however, in some cases, it is in the best interest of the child and can contribute to agencies achieving permanency for children and youth. Here are a few examples of instances when interjurisdictional work can help:
An agency locates a relative in another jurisdiction that is ready to open their home to a child in care.
A state child welfare agency learns that a child in care is of Native American ancestry and partners with the child’s tribe to find an appropriate home in compliance with ICWA requirements and following the tribe’s placement preferences.
A tribal child welfare agency learns that a child from their tribe has come into care in another area of the country.
In an area where families frequently commute across states lines, states with shared borders partner on recruitment efforts and home study completion.
This issue of E-Notes offers information, strategies, and resources to help you prepare for and support effective interjurisdictional work.
Ideas from the Field
Seven strategies to support interjurisdictional work
Support staff by providing training and tools on the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) requirements, and interjurisdictional work. This will help staff to be aware of all of the steps and processes involved in, and required for, interjurisdictional placements from beginning to end. Two publication from AdoptUSKids, ICPC Sending State Checklist (240 KB PDF) and ICPC Receiving State Checklist (210 KB PDF), provide an overview of basic steps for how ICPC might operate for children and youth being adopted across state lines.
Ensure that staff know who within your agency can provide expertise and guidance on interjurisdictional placement and support. Staff may not frequently encounter interjurisdictional work, and may be unsure of processes. To help provide clarity and consistency, some jurisdictions have developed a specialized staff position or unit to manage interjurisdictional cases. Other jurisdictions have a designated lead person or “expert” in each office who staff can consult with if they have questions about interjurisdictional cases.
Consider ways to ensure that staff know how to arrange support and services when placing children in other jurisdictions. Caseworkers may be hesitant about interjurisdictional work out of concern about the availability of supports and services for a child placed with a family in another jurisdiction; having clear processes for coordinating services can help break down this barrier. Some states have purchased services that are set up so that the funding follows the child, whether in or out of state, or will pay for services out of state on a case-by-case basis. The AdoptUSKids publication, Dollars and Sense: A Guide to Achieving Adoptions through Public-Private Contracting (339 KB PDF), provides public and private agency program managers, supervisors, and contract managers with information about the purchase of interjurisdictional adoption services.
Be aware of ways—and seek out new ideas—to ensure that children’s important connections can be maintained even across large geographic distances. When considering interjurisdictional placements, explore whether and how children and youth would be able to stay connected to important people in their lives, such as through video calls (e.g., Skype, FaceTime), email, texting, and in-person visits. Youth themselves may have great ideas for how they can stay in touch with people who are important to them.
Celebrate successes! Share information about successful interjurisdictional placements with staff to recognize accomplishments and raise awareness that interjurisdictional placements can work, highlighting the key factors that supported the successful placement.
Government-to-government work between states and tribes
One of the many forms of interjurisdictional work is relationships between states and tribes. As an example, Cherokee Nation, located in Oklahoma, and the state of Oklahoma have a state-tribal agreement that includes the following provisions:
The state accepts the tribe’s home studies and training.
Native resource families are reimbursed at the same rate as state-licensed homes.
The state and tribe collaborate when families are “dually” certified by both the tribe and state.
Additionally, staff from Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma child welfare agencies communicate and partner around foster care issues and recruitment of Native American resource families through work groups and regional meetings, and work together to plan recruitment events.
Cherokee Nation also works with Cherokee families who reside in other states and want to become foster homes for the tribe. Here’s how it works:
Cherokee families living out of state first must be certified with their state.
Once certified, they contact the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare Department and Cherokee Nation obtains releases from families to receive the completed home studies and paperwork.
Cherokee Nation certification staff contact the families to complete an addendum and the family is added to the Cherokee Nation family registry.
The Cherokee Nation Out of District Unit is notified that a certified resource family is available in the state of residence of the family. The Out of District Unit works closely with other states and will not utilize any placement without first going through the state of residence of the family. For example, if a Cherokee child comes into care in another state, that state will contact the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare Department to inquire about Cherokee homes in their state. Cherokee Nation will give them the names and addresses of approved families so that they can determine if they are feasible placements, and if so, reach out to them.
News and announcements
National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) is expanding
NEICE is a web-based system that allows states to transmit child and placement information regarding interstate placement requests for the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), including for foster care and adoption. An evaluation of the pilot suggested significant reductions in time to process cases and savings in mailing and copying expenses.
NEICE is in the process of expanding to all states, and is exploring an option that would allow private adoption attorneys or agencies to submit ICPC requests electronically. Nine states have signed onto NEICE, with at least ten more preparing to join over the summer and fall. See the implementation map (94 KB PDF) to see if your state is planning to participate in NEICE. Detailed information about NEICE is available online or by contacting Marci Roth, project director, at email@example.com.
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