Interstate Compact for Juveniles

Since its founding, CSG’s Compact Center has worked to promote the use of interstate compacts as an ideal tool to meet the demand for cooperative state action.  During that time there have been approximately 180 adoptions of CSG supported compacts, including 10 separate adoptions of different projects during the 2014 legislative session. Two of those compacts have expanded to all 50 states, while the Educational Opportunity for Military Compact has now grown to 48 states.  Below is a summary of various CSG compact projects.

Each spring break and summer, Jean Hall and her staff in the juvenile compact office in Florida stay very busy.  The lure of beaches, sunshine and Disney attract a lot of runaways. To return these youth to their home state, Florida—like all other states—must follow certain rules under the Interstate Compact for Juveniles, or ICJ. But when a state is not a member of that national compact, no legal means exist for that safe return. That’s especially problematic for Florida, which neighbors Georgia, the only state that isn’t a member of the compact.

Interstate compacts are contracts between two or more states creating an agreement on a variety of issues, such as specific policy challenges, regulatory matters and boundary settlements. This brief provides background on the history of compacts, their primary purposes, and information about compacts affiliated with the National Center for Interstate Compacts.


Dating back to America’s colonial past, interstate compacts are one of the few tools specifically granted to states by the U.S. Constitution. While it is unlikely our Founding Fathers anticipated the scope and breadth of today’s state government policy challenges, their inclusion of compacts in the Constitution provided state policymakers with a powerful, durable, and adaptive tool for ensuring cooperative action among the states. The growth of the modern
compact has further provided states a sophisticated administrative mechanism, allowing interstate collaboration to resolve complex policy challenges, while simultaneously avoiding federal intervention.