California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)

Photo of woman kneeling with a girl in her lap

Who is it for?

CalWORKs is a public assistance program that provides cash aid and services to eligible families that have a child(ren) in the home. The program serves all 58 counties in the state and is operated locally by county welfare departments.

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.

The amount of a family's monthly assistance payment depends on a number of factors, including the number of people who are eligible and the special needs of any of those family members. The income of the family is considered in calculating the amount of cash aid the family receives.

Specific eligibility requirements include an applicant's citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. Generally, services are available to:

  • Families that have a child(ren) in the home who has been deprived of parental support or care because of the absence, disability or death of either parent.
  • Families with a child(ren) when both parents are in the home but the principal earner is unemployed.
  • Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child(ren).

How to Apply:

Apply online: or contact your county social services agency in your county.

Already Getting CalWORKs?

If you have questions or problems with your CalWORKs benefits, contact your county social services agency.

Information and Resources

For more information and resources visit the CalWORKs Program website. This resource is designed to assist county eligibility workers and other partners who provide services to the public.

If you are a member of the public we encourage you to apply online at or contact your county social services agency.