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Legal Guardianships and Adoptions

In a CPS case, legal guardianships serve as an alternative option to the child returning to the parent’s care or adoption when a parent cannot care for their child for a period of time. Legal guardianship establishes a legal relationship between the child and a guardian who assumes responsibility for the child’s care, protection, and decision-making. The guardian takes on the role of providing a stable and nurturing environment for the child while the parent is unable to do so.

Here are some key points about legal guardianships in CPS cases:

Legal Guardianship Can be a Temporary Solution: Legal guardianships are generally considered a temporary solution when a parent is unable to care for the child due to various reasons such as substance abuse, incarceration, or mental health issues. It allows the child to maintain a connection with their family while ensuring their immediate well-being.

Parental Involvement: Unlike adoption, legal guardianship does not terminate the parental rights of the biological parent. The parent may still have some level of involvement and visitation rights, depending on the specific arrangements made by the court. In some cases, the parent may also work towards reunification with the child and regain custody in the future.

Parental Agreement: In some situations, a parent may voluntarily agree to legal guardianship if they recognize that they are unable to provide the necessary care and support for their child temporarily. This can be a mutual decision made between the parent and the potential guardian, or it may be facilitated through court proceedings.


Adoption in a child protective services (CPS) case refers to the legal process by which a child who has been removed from their biological parents’ care due to abuse, neglect, or other reasons is permanently placed with a new family, known as the adoptive family. Adoption is considered when it is determined that the child cannot safely return to their biological parents and that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.

Here are some key points to understand about adoption in a CPS case:

Termination of Parental Rights: Before a child can be adopted in a CPS case, the parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. This typically occurs when the court determines that the parents are unable or unwilling to provide a safe and stable environment for the child. Termination of parental rights legally severs the legal relationship between the child and their biological parents, making the child available for adoption.

Parental Objection: A parent has the right to object to adoption if they believe that their parental rights should be maintained or if they wish to continue having visitation and contact with the child. Common reasons for objecting to adoption include wanting to preserve the parent-child relationship or maintain sibling connections if there are other children involved.

Exceptions to Adoption: There are situations where adoption may not be deemed appropriate or necessary. For example, if the court determines that the parent-child relationship is worth preserving, adoption may not be pursued. Similarly, if maintaining sibling relationships is considered crucial for the child’s well-being, adoption may be set aside in favor of other arrangements.

Placement with an Adoptive Family: Once the parental rights are terminated, CPS works to identify a suitable adoptive family for the child. The process includes assessing potential adoptive families through home studies, background checks, and interviews to ensure that they can provide a nurturing and stable environment for the child. CPS aims to find a family that can meet the specific needs of the child, considering factors such as the child’s age, background, and any special needs they may have.

Adoption Process: The adoption process involves various legal steps, including filing an adoption petition with the court and completing necessary paperwork. The adoptive family may also need to attend adoption-related training and counseling sessions. Additionally, a thorough investigation is conducted to ensure that the adoptive family is suitable and can provide a safe and loving home for the child.

Finalizing the Adoption: Once all necessary requirements are met, and if the court determines that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, the adoption is finalized. This involves a final hearing where the adoptive parents legally become the child’s parents, and a new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents’ names.

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