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News & Views - Oct, 1996 Issue #42 


(A Statement on how it relates to wilderness programs) 

(The Interstate Compact was amended in the mid-seventies by all states as one part of the massive social legislation initiatives that swept the nation in the wake of the post-WATERGATE elections. The purpose of expanding the Interstate Compact was to give state governments notification and some control over placement of nonadjudicated youth from other states. This part of the Interstate Compact has not yet been consistently enforced. When it has been enforced, one important impact the Interstate Compact has is it requires parents to obtain permission from both state governments before they can place their child in a program in another state, even if the states have no other involvement. To my knowledge, there is no federal law relating to the interstate placement of nonadjudicated children. -LON) 

May 21, 1996
The Honorable Richard Pombo 
U.S. House of Representatives 
Room 1519 Longworth House Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20515 

Dear Congressman Pombo:

You have asked our organization whether the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) applies to the placement of children in “Wilderness Camps.” The answer to your question is that ICPC does apply if the placement is “interstate,” or in other words from one state into another.  When children are removed from the care, custody, and control of their parents or other legal custodian(s) and placed into programs for behavior modification, the Compact applies just as it does to other placements into residential treatment facilities. These wilderness camps generally apply rigorous discipline as a means of dealing with behavioral deviations. Whether placement in such a camp is appropriate for a particular child is to be determined by evaluating each particular case. If the child is an adjudicated delinquent, the placement will be made by a court as required in Article VI of ICPC. If the child is not being sent as a delinquent, the placement may or may not be by a court. But I must stress that placement in a wilderness program is the same as placement in a residential facility or program and, as far as ICPC is concerned, it is the same as placement in a group home or treatment center which does not qualify as a hospital or similar medical facility. I hope this explanation of ICPC in relation to “wilderness camps” is of help to you and your staff.

With best regards,

Frank Barthel, J.D.
Secretariat Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
An affiliate of the American Public Welfare Association
810 First Street, NE., Suite 500
Washington, DC 20002-4267
(202) 682-0100, Fax:(202) 289-6555 

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