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CalWORKs is a welfare program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy California families. The program serves all 58 counties in the state and is operated locally by county welfare departments. One of the guiding principles of the CalWORKs program is to allow counties flexibility in designing their respective programs to best meet local needs and formulate the most effective strategies in assisting individuals to move from welfare to work.
If a family has little or no cash and needs housing, food, utilities, clothing or medical care, they may be eligible to receive immediate short-term help. Families that apply and qualify for ongoing assistance receive money each month to help pay for housing, food and other necessary expenses. There are other programs and benefits for which a family may qualify by being on CalWORKs. For more information, visit the Department of Social Services’ website for a listing of these services.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Substance abuse and/or mental or emotional difficulties can limit or impair a CalWORKs participant's ability to make the transition from welfare to work, or retain employment over a long period of time. In Fiscal Year 2007-2008, over $108 million has been appropriated for substance abuse services and mental health services for the State’s welfare-to-work population.
The local county welfare director and the county alcohol and drug program administrator determine the availability of services and the process for delivering services. Counties have the flexibility of transferring these funds between mental health and substance abuse services in order to meet their needs. Contact your local county alcohol and drug program for more information.
The counties’ existing networks of alcohol and drug treatment providers provide substance abuse treatment for CalWORKS participants. In instances where the existing county alcohol and drug treatment network is unable to provide necessary treatment services, participants may be referred to a state-licensed or certified nonprofit substance abuse program under contract with the county welfare department.
- NEW! 2008 CalWORKs Partnership Summit - Power Point Presentations: "They're Just Wired Differently: Women, Addiction, and Treatment" (PPT) - presented 12/03/08, by Dee Dee Stout, Responsible Recovery and "A look at: Co-Occurring Disorders and Barriers to Employment" (PPT), presented by Roland Williams.
State of California Sites
- California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office
- California Employment Development Department
- California State Employment Training Panel
- Handsnet Welfare Information Network
- Los Angeles County - CalWORKs
- San Francisco County - Dept. of Health Services
- Santa Cruz County - CalWORKs