If prospective adoptive parents of a child live in a different state than the one where the child is living, the law that governs this transaction is called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children Act (ICPC). This is a uniform, statutory law in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Before a child who was born in one state can be adopted and relocated to another state, both states must give approval.
It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the approvals to be processed. In the interim you can’t leave the state of the child’s birth with the child until the adoption is approved by both states. As an adoption attorney, part of my job is to help parents with the paperwork and make sure that you are in compliance with the adoption regulations for both jurisdictions.
Home study requirements for interstate adoptions in Tennessee
All adoptions, with the exception of stepparent adoptions, must have a home study before the child can be placed. This rule is part of the ICPC requirements that must be followed. The home study is conducted by the Department of Children’s Services, and it includes all of the members of the household.
The home study will consist of interviews with all members of the household who are living in the family home. The Department of Children’s Services representative will make at least one visit to the adoptive family’s home. The representative will assess the character, values and ethical standards of the applicants, their physical and mental health and the health and fire safety conditions in the home.
The study also includes a review of the prospective parent’s ability to financially afford to take care of the child, whether their marriage appears to be stable and whether their home is safe for a child.
Why might a home study not be approved?
The state’s first priority is to safeguard the best interests of the child, and to make sure that the prospective adoptive parents will provide a safe, nurturing environment in which the child can grow and thrive. Home studies can be denied if one or both of the prospective parents has been convicted of:
- Violent crimes
- Rape or sexual assault
- Child abuse or neglect
- Child pornography
The ICPC guidelines contain the other grounds for not approving a home study for parents who wish to adopt.
Adopting a child who lives in another state can be a complicated but rewarding process. I am an experienced family law attorney who has been handling adoptions for more than 25 years. As an experienced family lawyer, I can help you with your adoption needs in a caring and sensitive manner. My team serves families throughout Knoxville, Maryville and Sevierville, and now through our branch office in Franklin, Tenn., and we look forward to helping your family. Please contact us to learn more.