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Understanding ICPC as a Birth Mother

By Maleah Adams 

At Adoption Choices of Arizona, we understand that there are many laws and definitions for you to learn in the world of private adoption in Arizona. For that reason, we strive to make the process easier and simplify some of the more complex terms. As a pregnant mother considering private adoption in Arizona, there can be a lot of child adoption jargon that you may not understand or know the meaning of. One of those words you might have seen or heard consistently throughout your search for “adoption agencies near me” is “ICPC.” 

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is an agreement in the United States and its territories that governs the placement of children from one state into another state (APHSA). The agreement presents the requirements that must be met before a child can be placed out of the state they were born in. The ICPC ensures prospective homes are safe and suitable before approval, and it ensures that whoever is placing the child remains legally and financially responsible for them following placement. Originally, ICPC laws were created to protect children moving across state borders for mainly foster care purposes. But as private adoption became more prevalent, it soon became a part of the laws concerning that adoption type too. 

ICPC & Arizona Adoptions 

In most cases, when a baby is ready to be placed up for adoption, the adoptive parents will travel to the birth state of the child and wait until paperwork is completed by all parties involved. This ensures that the baby only has to travel when it is completely safe for him or her to do so. Through this process, you can be confident that your child is being taken care of every step of the way. 

To ensure you comply with the ICPC laws in Arizona, you must make sure to send the required information to the ICPC office located in the home state of your child. The ICPC laws require that you include: 

  • A summary of the plan for your child’s care
  • Financial and medical information 
  • A copy of your home study 
  • The name of the child
  • The child’s birthday
  • Birthplace of the child
  • Your names
  • A concise statement of the reasons for moving the child to a new state

During a home study, a social services worker will go out to the prospective placement and meet with everyone who lives in the home. They will then do background screenings and make a determination as to whether the home should be approved for the child to come and live there. The ICPC offices in both the sending and receiving states will review the home study. The ICPC office, as well as the state, will review the information you have gathered and determine if they think that the move is in the child’s best interest.

A Breakdown of The ICPC Process 

The ICPC is a federal law, which means that the process is relatively identical throughout each of the 50 states. There are several steps involved in adopting a baby across state borders that ensure the child remains safe and comfortable. These steps include: 

  1. Adoptive Family Travels to Birth Mother’s State 
  2. Birth Parents Consent to the Adoption 
  3. aby is Discharged to Adoptive Family 
  4. Adoption Entity Gathers Paperwork (home study, health information, proof of birth parent consent, etc.) & Submits it to State ICPC Office 
  5. The Sending State Reviews Paperwork 
  6. The ICPC Paperwork is Sent to the Receiving State
  7. Receiving State’s ICPC Office Reviews Paperwork 
  8. The Receiving State notifies the Sending State of its Approval 
  9. Sending State Contacts to Adoption Entity who Submitted Paperwork
  10. Adoptive Parents are Notified that ICPC Process is Complete & They Can Return Home

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and still have questions regarding these steps or the adoption process in general, do not hesitate to contact an adoption specialist at Adoption Choices of Arizona. We can assist you in every aspect of your adoption journey. 

Arizona’s Streamlined Adoption Support System

Understanding these ICPC laws can provide you with reassurance and clarity regarding the process of adoption. Here at Adoption Choices of Arizona, we promote confidence among birth mothers, knowing that their child will be placed in a suitable and safe environment, regardless of where the adoptive family resides. 

Furthermore, familiarity with ICPC laws can alleviate concerns about the adoption process, providing you with peace of mind knowing that proper procedures are being followed and that your child’s future is being handled with care. 

If you are in need of unplanned pregnancy help and have any concerns regarding ICPC laws or the adoption process, contact Adoption Choices of Arizona today. 


  • Advanced Solutions International, Inc. “ICPC FAQ’s.” APHSA Influence Build Connect,    aphsa.org/AAICPC/AAICPC/icpc_faq_2.aspx. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.