More than 300,000 children in Los Angeles live with a relative or non-relative caregiver because their parents are unable or unwilling to care for them.

Without a legal relationship, caregivers who are willing to parent these children are limited in their ability to protect and provide for them. By obtaining legal guardianship for these caregivers, the Alliance is able to guide families to a more stable future.

Alliance for Children's Rights help

“Before coming to the Alliance I was desperate, concerned, lost, and I didn’t know where to start. But after working with their attorney and legal assistant, I felt secure, supported and protected, and got the information I needed so that I could focus on caring for the children.”


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How We Can Help

The Alliance helps eligible caregivers become the legal guardians of the children in their care by representing them in probate court. These matters involve children whose parents cannot care for them and are not part of the foster care system, but are living with a relative or non-relative caregiver. 

Legal guardianship can only be established by a court, not by a notarized letter from a parent. A court-ordered guardianship allows someone other than a parent to care for a minor and to make day-to-day decisions concerning the child’s well-being.

A “Legal Guardian” is ...

The person appointed by the court who assumes legal responsibilities for a child/minor. A legal guardian’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to the child’s:

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Daily care

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Medical care

Additionally, legal guardianship allows a caregiver to:

  • Add the child to the caregiver’s medical insurance
  • Apply for public benefits on behalf of the child
  • Make special education decisions for the child (including regarding the development of an IEP)

Frequently Asked Questions

The person appointed by the court is called the legal guardian, and this person, assumes legal responsibilities for the child/minor. This means that they are 1) responsible for the child’s care and 2) have authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care and personal needs.
Once a guardianship is granted by the probate court, it remains in effect until the minor reaches the age of 18 or until a petition to terminate the guardianship is granted.
From the time that the petition for guardianship is filed, it may take up to four months for the guardianship to be granted. The amount of time depends on the proper notice to relatives and a completed investigation, by the court, as to the appropriateness of the guardianship.
In guardianship matters, the legal guardian does not become the legal parent because parental rights are only suspended, not terminated. An adoption is a substitution of one parent or set of parents for another. When an adoption occurs, either the parents voluntarily relinquish their rights or a hearing is held in which all rights and duties of the parents to the child are terminated.
A joint guardianship permits parents with life-threatening illness to share the custody and care of their children with another person without completely relinquishing their own parental and custodial rights. A joint guardianship provides a plan for a legal guardian to step in if the parent becomes too ill to care for the child or dies.
Currently, in Los Angeles County, the cost for filing a guardianship petition in probate court is $1495, unless the petitioner qualifies for a fee waiver.
Any interested person.
No. A notarized letter is not a legally binding document; it is considered a “letter of consent.” The only way to obtain guardianship is to file and appear in court.

The Alliance is Here.

If you are having any problems obtaining the proper level of funding for the children in your care, and/or problems getting your home approved by DCFS, please reach out.

Over 500 children have found stability in families through legal guardianship.