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Financial Resources and Services for Families

March 20, 2013


The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, otherwise known as CalWORKs, is the state’s welfare-to-work program that provides cash aid and services to low-income families in need.

Depending upon specific eligibility requirements, families can apply to receive a monthly welfare check to help pay for food, housing, utilities and other necessary expenses.

If families have little or no cash and need emergency housing, food or other aid, they can ask if they are eligible to receive immediate short-term help.

The CalWORKs program also provides education, employment and training programs to help families become self-sufficient. There is a time-limit whereby adults can only receive assistance for 5 years. However, children can still receive aid through the Safety Net program.

How to receive assistance

Your county welfare department operates the CalWORKs program.

In each of the counties, there are welfare offices where you can apply for CalWORKs. Visit this website to check where your county welfare office is located.

Eligibility requirements depends on a host of factors including income, assets, special needs, age, citizenship, among others. Your family’s income will be used to calculate the amount of cash aid you will be able to receive.

Generally, your family may receive assistance if:

  • you have a child in the home who has been deprived of parental support or care as a result of absence, disability or death of a parent;
  • you have a child who has both parents in the home, but the principal earner is unemployed.

Other services and assistance programs

Your county office will provide you with detailed information on the wealth of benefits and resources available. The following are some of these services.

  • CalFresh is the state’s food stamp program that helps families meet their basic food needs. Application forms are available in various languages.
  • Medi-Cal helps families pay for medical costs. Typically, if a member of the family receives CalWORKs, he or she will also qualify for Medi-Cal.
  • Cal-Learn is a program that provides special services for pregnant and parenting teens.