The Lost Ones of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
Nine-year-old Samantha and her younger brother were removed from their parents’ home by child welfare officials of the State of Washington. Already having gone through the trauma of being torn from their home, the children’s experience would soon worsen.2 That day began their experience in the foster care system. Even though there were relatives willing to take responsibility of and care for the children, formal requests, home inspections, and approvals would prevent those relatives from immediately gaining custody because they resided outside the State of Washington. Accordingly, this situation was subject to the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (“ICPC”). If Samantha’s family members had lived within the State of Washington, they most likely would have gained custody sooner. Instead, the children were forced to remain in foster care until the situation was sorted out—a process that carried on for months and, in some states, could last more than a year. In the meantime, Samantha’s family was put through a series of steps to ensure their home was safe for the children. This nightmare that Samantha endured is one that thousands of children across the nation live through and encounter daily.