About the Interstate Compact for Juveniles

The Interstate Commission for Juveniles

The Interstate Commission for Juveniles is the governing body of the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ). Commission members include representatives from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands, who work together to preserve child welfare and promote public safety. The Commission is responsible for promulgating and enforcing rules to implement the ICJ.

The Executive Committee oversees day-to-day activities of the Commission and administers compliance with the compact, its by-laws and rules.  Comprised of elected officers and appointed chairpersons, the Executive Committee has statutory power to act on behalf of the Commission when the Commission is not in session.

Resource: Introduction to ICJ Brochure

Get to know the Executive Committee

The Interstate Compact for Juveniles

The Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ) is the law that regulates the interstate movement of juveniles who are under court supervision or have run away to another state. The ICJ is a contract that has been adopted as law throughout the United States. Therefore, all state and local officials are legally bound to honor and enforce the terms of the Compact.

The Compact provides requirements for supervision and return of juveniles who:

  • are on probation, parole, or other supervision, or have escaped to another state;
  • have run away from home and left their state of residence;
  • have been accused of an offense in another state.

Read the Compact Statute

ICJ State Offices

In each compacting state and territory, a Compact Administrator is responsible for the administration and management of the state’s supervision and transfer of juveniles subject to the Compact. Compact Administrators (along with their deputies and designees) work with other state and local officials on a wide variety of issues related to the:

  • return of runaways; probation/parole absconders; escapees; accused delinquents; status offenders;
  • transfer of supervision;
  • quarterly progress and violation reports;
  • travel permits;
  • airport surveillance requests; and
  • operation of State Councils on Interstate Supervision of Juveniles.

Locate an ICJ State/Territorial Office

Resource: Quick Reference Guide for ICJ Cases

Our History

The history of the Interstate Compact for Juveniles dates back to the 1950s, when concern grew throughout the United States about “a vast army of wandering kids being shuttled from place to place.” The U.S. Senate Juvenile Delinquency Subcommittee launched an extensive investigation, which drew even more attention when findings became the subject of a Parade Magazine article, entitled “Nobody’s Children: How America’s 300,000 runaway teen-agers get the runaround.”   Ross, S. & Keister, E. (1954, September) Nobody’s Children. Parade Magazine, 8-13. 

Building on this momentum, the “original” Interstate Compact on Juveniles was created in 1955.  The “original” Compact provided the first-ever framework for regulating the interstate movement of juveniles in order to address the safety needs of juveniles and communities.  By 1986, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and Guam had ratified the “original” Compact. 

In 1999, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) conducted a detailed survey which uncovered a number of contentious issues within the Compact's structure.  Along with the Council of State Governments (CSG), OJJDP determined that a revision of the existing Compact as the only option for long-term progress and sustainability.  In 2001, OJJDP, CSG, and Association of Juveniles Compact Administrators (AJCA) developed and facilitated a drafting team of state officials to design a revised juvenile compact.

In 2002, after finalizing the Compact's language, an educational campaign began to help states’ policymakers better appreciate and understand the need for a new Compact.  By 2003, the “new” Interstate Compact for Juveniles became available for introduction in the states.  Throughout that year, twelve (12) states adopted the revised Compact. The “new” Compact reached its thirty-five (35) state threshold when Tennessee and Illinois enacted in 2008, allowing for transition and operational activities to commence. 

One of the key improvements of the “new” Compact was the authorization to create a governing body with authority to promulgate rules and enforce compliance.  Thus, the Interstate Commission for Juveniles was formed in 2008, with voting members (“Commissioners”) from each member jurisdiction.  The Commission held its first Annual Business Meeting in December 2008 and hired its first full-time staff the same year.

In 2012, the Commission launched the first ever data system for tracking interstate movement of juveniles.  The Juveniles Information Data System, commonly known as JIDS, which was retired in 2021 with the launch of the new and improved data system called UNITY (Uniform Nationwide Information Tracking for Youth) which provides a platform for state ICJ offices to exchange data regarding juveniles subject to the Compact.   

April 2014 completed the ratification of the “new” Compact by all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands. The Commission uses a robust committee structure to carry out operations throughout the year and comes together for an engaging and productive Annual Business Meeting each fall.

Historical Documents