Legal Guardianship & Adoption

Providing & supporting permanence for youth

Legal Guardianship

There are a few different types of Legal Guardianship and different paths to obtain Legal Guardianship, each with their own particular supports and benefits. Legal Guardianship may be obtained through the Probate Court if there is no child abuse or neglect case. If DCFS is involved and the Juvenile Court has declared the child a dependent of the Juvenile Court, then in order for a Legal Guardianship to be ordered, it must be through the Juvenile Court. See below the different types of guardianship:

Contrasts Between Juvenile Dependency Court Guardianship and Probate Court Guardianship

Juvenile Dependency

  • The Court and Social Services are mostly in control
  • Stigma of “foster care”
  • ILP eligibility
  • Dependency Petition
  • Extended NRLG Benefits for Non-Relatives
  • Extended Kin-GAP for Relatives
  • Resource Family Approval Process
  • Case Management through DCFS while dependency in place


  • Family is more in control of the legal process
  • Less stigma
  • No ILP Eligibility
  • No petition against the parent
  • Monetary benefits end at 18
  • No Resource Family Approval process, just screening & background check
  • Case Management available through KSSP, if needed (voluntary)


Funding Differences for Relatives vs. Non-Relatives When Diverted to Probate

  • Children / youth diverted from foster care into a relative’s home through a probate guardianship are not eligible for AFDC-FC or Kin-GAP.  They are eligible for CalWORKs.
  • Children / youth diverted to a non-relative’s home through a probate court guardianship would receive the AFDC-FC rate in guardianship benefits.  



The following Phone numbers and web links are resources for Legal Guardians and those who are pursuing Legal Guardianship. 


The Alameda County Social Services Agency is licensed as a Public Adoption Agency by the California Department of Social Services. The Adoptions Program provides services related to the adoption of court dependent children in the child welfare system, a process referred to as agency adoption.

In addition, the Adoption Program provides independent and step-parent adoption services for non-dependent children.

Adoption services also include recruiting and assessing prospective adoptive parents, completing and approving adoption home studies, placing children in prospective adoptive homes, and assisting the family in the finalization of the adoption. The department works cooperatively with other public and private adoption agencies.

All adoption processes are governed by state regulations, the Welfare and Institutions code and the Family code.

Contact us

Call the RFA Caregiver Recruitment Hotline: (510) 259-3575 or visit for information about becoming a resource family. 

Post Permanency Unit

The Department’s Post Permanency Unit provides post permanency services to adoptive families and relative legal guardian families who are receiving Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) or Kin-GAP funding from Alameda County.

Click here for a brochure that provides information about the unit and the Department's post permanency services.

Contact Us

Post Permanency Services Line: (510) 268-2553