LAGRANGE, GA—Leaders of child welfare agencies in Alabama
and Georgia signed an agreement Friday that eliminates barriers for social
workers seeking homes for vulnerable children on the two states’ border.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Border Agreement allows
for greater cooperation between the Georgia Division of Family and Children
Services and the Alabama Department of Human Resources as the agencies work to
provide safe and stable housing for both youth who are in foster care and for
children who are at risk of entering state custody.
ICPC agreements across the
country govern the placement of children from one state into another, ensuring
prospective homes are safe and suitable before they are approved. Georgia and Alabama’s agreement will speed the state-to-state
approval process for the affected counties and provide children with options
that allow them to stay connected with relatives and communities.
“A state line shouldn’t be
a barrier when it comes to finding the safest and most appropriate place for a
child to live,” said Georgia DFCS Director Bobby Cagle. “Very often, the
children we work with have a relative just one county over who can provide a
safe and loving home for them in a time of crisis, eliminating the need for
them to come into foster care. If the next county over happens to be in another
state, that shouldn’t stand in the way of the child’s best interest.”
The agreement, signed
Friday, is an expansion of a previous ICPC agreement between the two states.
While other states have similar agreements, the partnership between Georgia and
Alabama is the most expansive of any border agreement in the country.
“When we seek to protect a
child from an abusive situation, we must also seek to protect them from the
trauma of having to break ties with their extended families and their
communities when they are removed from their homes,” said Nancy Buckner,
Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Human Resources. “The level of
cooperation between Georgia and Alabama is unprecedented and allows children
the opportunity to be with caregivers who are not only capable of caring for
them but who are familiar to them.”
Originally executed as a
pilot project in February 2014, the border agreement between Georgia and
Alabama has been expanded to all counties on the Georgia-Alabama border.
Georgia also has ICPC border agreements with Florida, South Carolina and
To date, Georgia and
Alabama’s agreement has prevented more than 70 children from entering foster
Georgia counties covered
by the agreement are: Calhoun, Carroll, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Clay,
Dade, Decatur, Early, Floyd, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Marion, Miller, Muscogee,
Polk, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, Stewart, Talbot, Taylor, Troup, Walker
Alabama counties affected
by the agreement are: Barbour, Chambers, Cherokee, Cleburne, DeKalb, Henry,
Houston, Jackson, Lee, Randolph and Russell.
Georgia Contact: Susan Boatwright Alabama Contact: Barry Spear