The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is a public assistance program that provides temporary assistance for needy families with (or expecting) children.
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.
Support while on the program may include temporary homeless assistance, employment/job readiness assistance, childcare, and transportation costs. Monthly cash benefits are issued on an ATM-style plastic card, called an Electronic Benefit Transfer or EBT card, which you can use to make purchases.
Under age 19 if the child is in high school or vocational school.
One or both of the child’s parents must be unemployed, disabled, continuously absent or deceased.
You must meet income and resource limits.
You may also qualify if you are:
Pregnant and in your second trimester
A pregnant or parenting teen under age 18
A relative caring for a child.
Eligibility for benefits depends on a number of factors, including family size, immigration status, income, property, and special needs.
How CalWORKs May Help
Individuals who are in receipt of CalWORKs for themselves are required to participate in the CalWORKs employment services program called Welfare-to-Work (WTW). Going through the WTW program builds your skills toward getting and keeping a job, so that you can support your family into the future.
During your program, WTW staff may:
Assess you for types of jobs you might do,
Help you make a plan to get work and increase your job skills,
Support you in training for various jobs, including helping you obtain your GED,
Provide childcare while you are completing the Welfare-to-Work program,
Help you get such services as: mental health services, alcohol or other drug services, legal help, learning disability support and/or support for those affected by domestic violence.