Headlines and Hot Topics

Taking Steps to Better Serve Foster Youth

California has made transformative changes to the way the State cares for children and youth in the foster care system. The Continuum of Care Reform (CCR) was founded upon the collective belief among stakeholders involved in California’s child welfare system that all children served by the foster care system need, deserve, and have an ability to be part of a loving family, and not to grow up in a congregate setting. When CCR implementation began in 2017, an interim foster care rate structure was created. However, statute requires a new payment structure by January 1, 2025. To this end, the Department recently unveiled a rate reform proposal, which was informed by feedback from current and former foster youth, county placing agencies, Tribes, and other interested parties.

California is proposing to restructure rates so that they are based on the needs of each child, not placement type. By restructuring the system this way, California can help address historical racial inequities and help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and trauma.

Read a detailed summary of the proposal

Disaster Help Center

Below are some safety tips, resources, and information about the types of federal, state and local disaster assistance services available in California. Although some of the resources are restricted to individuals or households with lawful immigration status, there are many services available to all Californians impacted by disasters.

Beware of EBT Theft and Scams

California has been experiencing an increase in occurrence of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) theft. In an effort to educate EBT cardholders and mitigate this activity, the California Department of Social Services is providing security tips for those who use EBT cards to receive food and cash assistance in the following linked video. If you think your benefits may have been stolen, you should immediately call the customer service telephone number on the back of your EBT card, (877) 328-9677, or contact your county social services agency.

A new mobile app and web-based portal called ebtEDGE provides new features for EBT cardholders in California, allowing them to better protect their CalFresh and CalWORKs benefits. The free app is available for download in the Apple App store and Google Play store. Web-based access is available here.

VIDEO: Watch Out for EBT Scams!

VIDEO: Tenga Cuidado Con Las Estafas De Las Tarjetas EBT!!!

Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)

You may qualify for cash assistance if you are an immigrant living in California and are:

  • 65 years or older, or
  • blind, or
  • disabled

CAPI is a program that is based on meeting certain immigration, income, and resource requirements. Please visit the CAPI program website for more information and how to apply!

Alert: Important Change to Public Charge Rule

Immigrants and their loved ones across California can seek and accept medical care, food assistance, and public housing without fear or confusion about public charge consequences thanks to a public charge rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which went into effect December 23, 2022.  Under the final rule, participation in CalFresh, public housing, or Medi-Cal (except for long-term care), will not be considered as part of the public charge determination.  Also, a reminder that medical testing, treatment, and preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, are not considered for public charge purposes.  For additional information, please see the following:

  • Joint statement  from California health and human services leaders in response to the federal public charge changes.  
  • Public Charge Guide for individuals and families with questions about the these changes in federal policy:  (English) ( Español)

Individuals in California seeking assistance are encouraged to consult one of many state-funded organizations that provide legal services to immigrants.  Here is a  list of immigration services providers  funded by CDSS.

Free Access to State Parks and Beaches for CalWORKs Recipients

Recipients of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefits are eligible for free access to state parks and beaches through the Golden Bear Pass program. Sign up for a 2024 pass. Tribal TANF recipients may apply for a pass through their local Tribal TANF administrator.

Adult Protective Services Hotline

If you or someone you know needs protection from abuse and neglect, call the statewide Adult Protective Services hotline: (833) 401-0832. Individuals can enter their 5-digit ZIP code to be connected to their county Adult Protective Services staff, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Statewide Adult Protective Services Data Dashboard

CDSS offers a dashboard containing data submitted by every county Adult Protective Services APS agency in California. Data is sent to the Department by counties monthly via the SOC 242 data collection tool. Included are the number of reports received, recidivism rates, the types of allegations of abuse, and demographic information on clients. See the dashboard .

Foster Care Ombudsperson Hotline

If you are concerned about the care, placement, services, or rights of children in foster care, call the Foster Care Ombudsperson hotline: (877) 846-1602. Service is available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8 am to 5 pm.

Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Distance Learning

If you are an educator involved in distance learning, this guide from CDSS and CDE offers tips to help you fulfill your role as a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and neglect.

About CDSS

California Department of Social Services
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

For public assistance case issues, inquiries, or complaints, e-mail our Public Inquiry and Response Unit at piar@dss.ca.gov.

For assistance with Pandemic EBT, please call the P-EBT Helpline at 1-877-328-9677.

To sign up for direct outreach from CDSS visit our Statewide Outreach page to lean more.

For assistance with Golden State Grants, please call the Golden State Grant Program Helpline at 1-866-312-3100.

For Out of State Inquiries please use the following list to reach the appropriate county.



Work With a Purpose

The California Department of Social Services supports programs which serve more than eight million people across our state. This work, accomplished everyday, provides stability, opportunity and promotes wellness in communities throughout California. Come join our team to experience what it is like to enjoy 'Work With a Purpose'.