Chapter 3.6.1 ​​​​​​Authority to Accept/Deny Referrals

​​​​​​Authority to Accept/Deny Referrals

One of the primary purposes of the compact is to “ensure that the adjudicated juveniles and status offenders subject to this compact are provided adequate supervision and services in the receiving state as ordered by the adjudicating judge or parole authority in the sending state.” Interstate Compact for Juveniles, art. I (2008).  Therefore, states should generally accept requests for transfer of supervision whenever feasible pursuant to the ICJ Rules, and provide supervision according to the same standards as they would apply to their own juveniles.  See ICJ Rule 5-101 (Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2024).

Pursuant to ICJ Rule 4-104(1), “Only the receiving state's authorized Compact Office staff shall accept or deny supervision of a juvenile by that state after considering a recommendation by the investigating officer.” The purpose of this rule is to ensure and maintain state-to-state coordination over the movement of juveniles covered by the compact. Because the rules of the Interstate Commission are binding on the states, ICJ Rule 4-104 effectively prohibits any authority, other than the authorized Compact Office staff, from accepting or denying supervision of a juvenile.   Local authorities, judges or other personnel have no authority to accept or deny a transfer of supervision outside the prior authorization or denial of a state’s authorized Compact Office staff.

Generally, a receiving state shall accept a referral unless it finds that the proposed residence is unsuitable or if the juvenile is not in substantial compliance with the terms and conditions of supervision.  As noted earlier, the age of the juvenile and the nature of the underlying offense cannot be the sole reason for denying the transfer of supervision, assuming all other eligibility requirements have been met.  ICJ Rule 4-104(3-4) (Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2024).

Because of the unique legal status of juveniles, there is one significant exception to the general rule that allows for denial of transfer of supervision based upon the home evaluation. Pursuant to the “mandatory acceptance rule” set forth in ICJ Rule 4-104(5), transfer of supervision cannot be denied “when a juvenile has no legal guardian remaining in the sending state and the juvenile does have a legal guardian residing in the receiving state.”  Consequently, once legal guardian nexus between the juvenile and the sending state is terminated and the nexus established in the receiving state, the receiving state must accept the transfer. Cf. In re Welfare of Z.S.T., No. A09-324, 2009 WL 4910319, at *3 (Minn. Ct. App., Dec. 22, 2009) (holding that court did not err in refusing to transfer juvenile to another state where it was unsure whether a legal guardian permanently resided in the receiving state).

When acceptance of a transfer of supervision is mandatory under ICJ Rule 4-104(5), sending and receiving states must ensure that no court orders of the adjudicating judge or parole authority in the sending state are violated when considering the living arrangements of the juvenile in the receiving state. If the juvenile would be living with a victim, for example, the Compact does not authorize the receiving state to violate a “no contact” order and approve supervision.  See ICJ Ad. Op. 04-2014 (Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2021).  Furthermore, homelessness or the threat of homelessness is not a valid reason to deny a transfer of supervision when there is no legal guardian remaining in the sending state. See ICJ Ad. Op. 01-2018 (Interstate Comm’n for Juveniles 2018).  

It must be emphasized that the terms of the ICJ Rules promulgated by the Commission    “. . .  have the force and effect of statutory law and shall be binding in the compacting states to the extent and in the manner provided in this compact.”  See ICJ, art. IV, 2 (2008).  Coupled with the transformational effect of Congressional consent, the provisions of both the ICJ Statute and ICJ Rules take precedence over conflicting state law as both a statutorily enacted contract and the equivalent of federal law under the Supremacy Clause of the federal Constitution.  While states may provide in the agreement that compact provisions in conflict with a provision of a State Constitution must yield, as has been agreed in art. XIII of the ICJ, its applicability only arises where there is an actual conflict between the state constitution and the ICJ.