Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The ICPC Process

In what ways can the ICPC process be improved? Share any good or bad experiences if you wish.

5 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

If there was a way to streamline the process to save time, that would be helpful. If more could be done by email and less by regular mail. As with anything, I'm sure more staff would help.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deborah Hage writes:

The ICPC process always worked well for me and my agency. I think largely that was due to the fact that the agency holding the ICPC administration contract in Colorado, Adoption Alliance, has an excellent worker, Kathy Tirone, assigned to administer all ICPC work. If the worker responsible is efficient and responsive then the process appears to work well exactly as it is. DEB

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kelly, Pastor, private school founder/administrator and Mom of 17 from
West Virginia writes

I agree with the previous poster who said that the right worker can make a
huge difference. However, I think that "right worker" is rare for most
folks. I have heard many more complaints about the process than
complements. Some states handle the process better than others. So while
folks in one state may report having an excellent record of ICPC
adoptions, folks in another state may be going through nightmare
situations to try to get their adoptions through the system.

ICPC is a sore spot for me right now. Of our 17 kids, 8 were from out of
state. We had problems with ICPC for 7 of our 8 out of state adoptions.
We had one good experience with ICPC - six years ago - for an infant
adoption.

More recently, we had an ICPC worker who objected to our adoption of six
siblings. She didn't care that the evaluations from social workers in
three different states were all positive. The recommendation from the
court appointed psychologist (who lived in our home for a few days) was
positive. In fact, everyone who had a voice was in favor of this
adoption, except the ICPC worker. She even admitted to holding the
paperwork on her desk in order to try to find a reason to deny the
adoption. She had a personal bias against both the sending state and our
family. It was obvious to everyone involved, but was actually stated at
one point.

The ICPC worker kept insisting the our current children had to be
traumatized by the additions and required additional homestudies to prove
that there were doing OK. She didn't seem to care the the psychologist
was pleased during her second visit. She didn't seem to care that all the
social workers had positive things to say about everyone's progress.
Eventually, a judge had to intervene on our behalf in order to get the
adoptions completed. The ICPC worker threatened to appeal the judge's
decision. The only thing that saved us was that it was the holiday season
and she would have had to fly to another state to process the paperwork
for the appeal.

Three months later, when we tried to finalize the adoption of our 3 year
old granddaughter - who had lived in our home most of her life - the ICPC
worker fought us again. She once again insisted that the baby was being
traumatizd by her new siblings even though all of our home visits reported
that all of the children were happy and appropriately well adjusted. She
then required that our homestudy be updated - for the sixth time in less
than a year, despite everyone else's insistance that it was current and
legally acceptable.

In other words, this woman had too much power over the situation. She was
able to manipulate the process according to her own interpretation. We
ended up having to work with regional supervisors for our state DHHR
offices, attorneys, judges, even our state senator's office. The local
workers and even the sending state's ICPC workers were intimidated by her
and many were hesitant to challenge her because they would have to work
with her again on other situations.

Based on our experiences, as well as those of friends who have gone
through ICPC, I see several things that should be changed.

1. ICPC regulations need to clearly define the purpose. Is the purpose
of ICPC to make sure that all laws are followed - as some states seem to
promote? Or, is it to make determinations about the appropriateness of
placements - as other states seem to say? If the latter, then ICPC
workers need to either investigate the situations themselves, or learn to
rely on the professional evaluations of those who have already done the
legwork.

2. There need to be deadlines for steps within the process. For example,
a friend of mine just waited almost a month for a single sentence to be
added to his homestudy so that his adoption of an out of state teen would
be approved. The missing statement wasn't discovered until the packet
reached his home state. And, it was his local agency - for whom he had
provided foster care for over a decade - who slowed down the process at
that point. They sat on it for a couple of weeks trying to decide what to
do. They checked with the home state's ICPC office who told them to add
one sentence to the study. Then, they called the sending state's ICPC
office for clarifiation. Then, they called the child's local worker for
further clarification. Then, it was another call to the home state's ICPC
office. On and on it went. Finally, after a month of putting it off, the
local worker wrote the sentence that was initially requested, added it to
the homestudy and everyone was satisfied. Add this delay to the delays in
submitting the initial paperwork, the delay when it was sent back because
of the failure to include the homestudy and the inherent delays in the
system itself and we've seen months added to a process that should have
taken weeks at most.

3. The entire process should become automated. The time span would be
shortened considerably and kids wouldn't have to wait so long to move into
their forever family homes. In this day and time, there is no reason to
send all this paperwork via the USPS. There are dozens of ways to do
electronic signature authentication, so falsification would not be an
issue.

4. Requirements need to be either standarized from state to state or more
clearly defined. One state's homestudy does not necessarily satisfy
another state's requirements. However, the differences aren't always
clear, so it can take weeks to resolve the discrepencies.

I'm sure other things will come to mind as time goes on, but this is
certainly more than enough for now.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a lot to think about......


I am equally concerned the opinions of one person, especially against the opinions of many others have control in this situation. I know that part of being a social worker should be to use intution and and "feel out a situation" but how often it seems that personal judgements and biases come into play in decision making. Scary.

11:21 AM  
Blogger candyo said...

It's definitely outdated as it stands. I don't understand why it is not electronic. I feel like I'm living in the 1980s as I make 3 copies of everything, separated by colored paper. Meanwhile, my kids sit there in a cloud of uncertainty as I tell them, "I don't know how long it'll take, but it will be a while!"

6:16 PM  

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