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Judicial Memorandum of Understanding Regarding

The Tennessee/Virginia Border Agreement

To: Cheri Stewart

Denise Dickerson

Leslie Kinkead, Esq.

From: Tennessee Judges

Judge J. Klyne Lauderback

Judge Paul Wohlford

Judge Mark Toohey

           Judge William Watson

Virginia Judges

Judge Charles Lincoln

Judge Elizabeth Wills

Judge Florence Powell

Judge Jeff Hamilton

Judge Henry Barringer

We, the undersigned judges of the State of Tennessee and the Commonwealth of Virginia, are in support of the development of a Border Agreement between the North East Region of Tennessee and the South West Region of Virginia that will expedite the interstate movement of children within the jurisdiction of the courts of both states while helping to ensure their safety and the provision of proper resources to support their needs in the event of their interstate movement.

In particular a process for the expedited placement of children with capable, safe, and caring relatives in the other state is needed as is the need to have ongoing judicial contact among the judges of both states to ensure safe and appropriate movement and oversight of children moving between the states.

As the decision, under current law, to approve or deny the interstate movement of children in foster care from one state to another initially lies within the purview of Tennessee DCS and Virginia DSS, the undersigned do not believe that is appropriate or within their judicial authority to formally sign any Border Agreement that may be executed by representatives of Tennessee DCS and representatives of Virginia DSS. The primary reason for this view is that in those cases where movement may be approved by either Tennessee DCS or Virginia DSS, the final decision to move a child is within the jurisdiction and authority of the court after hearing evidence presented by the parties to any litigation; and signing a Border Agreement by the judge might be construed by a party to any litigation as being tantamount to approval of such movement in a particular case.

Notwithstanding the above concern, the undersigned believe that the efficient management of their court dockets and the timely administration of justice in their courts require the development and establishment of effective and efficient responses to system challenges that face the courts and state child welfare agencies such as the early and timely interstate movement of children between states through the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) process or a determination that the ICPC process does either not apply or may be modified through the terms of a Border Agreement.

By signing this Judicial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the judges hereby agree to

Support the efforts of Tennessee DCS and Virginia DSS to develop a MOU that will improve the process surrounding the interstate movement of children between Tennessee and Virginia.

Support compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children specifically in the promotion of the use of Reg. #7 and other processes to expedite the placement of children.  

Enter timely orders including Regulation 7 Orders upon completion of hearings and quickly provide copies of those orders to the parties, their counsel, and the local agency that has brought the case before the court.

Support best practices by court officers, agency representatives, service providers and lawyers to help minimize delay in these cases.

Meet at least every 6 months to discuss the effectiveness of any process that has been developed between the states, provide recommendations to Tennessee DCS and the local VA DSS agencies as well as Virginia State DSS on possible improvements to the process, and support improvements to any agreement that is

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children Procedures Manual

Revised: January, 2012                                                                                                                           Page 62

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