Five dozen foster care children will be formally adopted during a series of hearings Saturday in Riverside and Indio in recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Ceremonies will take place at the Larson Justice Center in Indio and at the downtown Riverside courthouse, during which the adoption process will be finalized for the kids and their families, who reside throughout the county, according to the Department of Public Social Services.

DPSS is coordinating with the juvenile courts in both cities to conduct the hearings, with several judges and commissioners presiding, according to agency Director Sayori Baldwin.

“This day is exciting,” Baldwin told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. “Every child, regardless of race, ethnicity or economic status, deserves to be in a loving home. Now 60 more children join forever families Saturday.”

The children being adopted include toddlers and teenagers. Just over 20 will finalize the adoption process in Indio, while more than 30 will be formally adopted in Riverside. Celebrations will be held in front of the Indio courthouse and in the breezeway fronting Riverside City Hall.

Until 2015, the county scheduled mass adoption events to coincide with National Adoption Day, which is traditionally the Saturday before Thanksgiving. But according to DPSS officials, it was decided to start holding the event earlier in the month because too many families complained of scheduling conflicts going into the holiday week.

Since National Adoption Day began in 2000, more than 75,000 children nationwide have been adopted from foster care on that day, according to the National Adoption Day Coalition.

National Adoption Awareness Month is intended to focus attention on the estimated 120,000 children in foster care who are eligible for adoption.

“Riverside County communities are strong,” Baldwin said. “This is an opportunity to encourage more people to become foster and adoptive families. The process is not easy. But many children continue to wait for adoptive families, waiting for loving homes.”

She said there are about 4,000 children in the county’s foster care system.

More information is available at rivco.org/community/childrens-services.

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