When social services removes children from a home, placing the children with relatives is generally preferable to foster care. Home studies and background checks of nearby relatives typically take place in a matter of days.
But what if the children live near a state border, and their nearby relatives live in another state? Or further away?
Enter the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, under which bureaucratic red tape reportedly transforms what takes days within a state into months-long, even a year-long process across state lines.
Months in which children must wait in foster care to be cleared to go live with out-of-state relatives who are ready, willing and able to take them now.
Further, the Interstate Compact often provides no means for review or appeal of a rejection of placement with particular relatives.
Although many child welfare legal experts are critical of the Interstate Compact, for political reasons, change does not seem to be in the wind anytime soon.
It is sobering to note that, according to statistics, approximately half of relatives investigated for placements are ultimately rejected.