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Adoption/Legal Guardianship

Children’s Services

What is Adoption?

Every child deserves a stable, safe, and supportive family where they are loved and appreciated for their uniqueness.

We want every child to grow up in a happy home, and we wish that this always meant they should stay with their biological families. When that is not possible, we partner with organizations that help them find a healthy, loving forever home.

You can be that forever home for a kid in need. Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s biological parents to the adoptive parents.

To begin, call 1-800-665-KIDS. Learn more below.

Adoption/Legal Guardianship

    Resource Family Approval Program

    The Resource Family Approval Program finds and prepares adoptive parents for dependents of Riverside County Juvenile Court due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment, and who cannot return to their birth families.

    What is a Legal Guardian?

    A “Legal Guardian” has the legal right and duty to care for a child under age 18.

    The Riverside County Juvenile Court appoints relative or non-related legal guardians for dependent children. The Probate Court appoints legal guardians for non-dependent children.

    Can I become an Adoptive Parent or Legal Guardian?

    Each year in Riverside County, hundreds of people from all walks of life adopt. Are you considering becoming an adoptive parent or legal guardian for a child in your family? Or for a child you’re not related to at all? A legal guardian may be a relative or an adult not related to the child.

    Are you married? Great! Are you unmarried? Great! We still want you to change a child’s life forever through adoption or legal guardianship.

    Think you’re too young? Or too old? Age requirements are flexible as long as you have the energy, health, and heart to lovingly raise a child. To be fully approved in Riverside County, you simply must be 10 years older than the child.

    Are you worried that your and/or your partner’s work outside of the home will disqualify you? One or both parents may work outside the home and still adopt! Adoptive parents or guardians must prove income that can meet basic family needs. Worried you don’t earn enough? Large income isn’t required to place a child with guardian or an adoptive family. The Adoption Assistance Program can provide monthly payments and medical coverage for many of California’s adopted children. Legal guardians who are relatives may receive cash assistance through CalWORKs and non-related legal guardians may receive foster care benefits and medical coverage to help pay for healthcare for the child.

    Riverside County has an urgent need for families for older children, sibling sets, or children with special medical and/or developmental needs. Families willing to adopt these types of children will be given priority in the Resource Family Approval process.

    In order to be a fully approved adoptive home with Riverside County Adoptions, you must live in Riverside County and be 10 years older than the child you are adopting.

    How do you become an Adoptive Parent or Legal Guardian?

    If the Juvenile Court assumes care and custody of a child and DPSS places them in your home, and then all reunification efforts with the child’s biological parents fail, we will ask you to consider becoming the child’s adoptive parent or legal guardian.

    To become a legal guardian you will need to file papers with the Juvenile Court and the social worker will notify you of a hearing to establish the guardianship in the Juvenile Court.

    You may also need to file in the Superior Court for appointment as legal guardian. Your social worker will help guide you through the process. If you want to adopt a child and it is determined that the child cannot reunify with their parents, you will be referred to an adoption worker. After a preliminary adoption assessment has been submitted to court, parental rights have been terminated, and all agency paperwork has been completed, a hearing will be scheduled to finalize the adoption.

    The Adoption Process

    Prospective adoptive parent(s) must go through a process to become an approved Riverside County Resource Family.

    Families willing to adopt older, children, sibling sets, or children with special needs will be given priority in the Resource Family Approval process.

    Heart Gallery

    The Heart Gallery is a traveling portrait exhibit of children who are in need of finding their forever family. These children need love, happiness and a sense of belonging. They need a home. It could be yours!

    For more information 

    Adoptions Assistance Payment Program

    If you are adopting a child with special needs, you may qualify for financial and medical assistance. The amount of the monthly payment must be set through negotiation between the adoption agency and adoptive family. Families can learn more about the payment program through their social worker or by contacting the AAP unit at (951) 358-5302