Civil Rights

The Section administers the civil rights program based on State and Federal laws and regulations, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Our program ensures effective access and nondiscrimination to all applicants and/or recipients of benefits and services provided by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and county welfare departments. Activities include discrimination complaint investigations, county compliance monitoring, technical assistance, training, and ongoing monitoring for state and federal regulatory compliance.

This website provides county welfare departments and the public with immediate access to information for filing civil rights complaints and researching underlying laws and regulations that promote equitable and effective delivery of benefits and services.

Our Mission

The mission of the civil rights section (CRS) is to promote anti-discrimination policies and practices so that all California Department of Social Services-funded and county-administered programs deliver benefits and services equitably. 

We conduct audits and oversee complaints involving these county welfare department programs to ensure compliance with state and federal civil rights laws.

We support counties and provide them with resources, as they serve vulnerable Californians and strive to remove barriers to equal access and participation.

I would like to file a:

Discrimination or Retaliation Complaint Against a CDSS Funded Program

Important Note: We only have authority to review discriminatory or retaliatory actions by county welfare departments in programs funded by CDSS like CalFresh, CalWORKs, IHSS, and Children's Services, to name a few. We do not have authority to accept complaints related to businesses like grocery or retail stores, or other government departments or agencies like the Social Security Administration because these are not CDSS funded programs. 

For instructions on how to file a discrimination or retaliation complaint that is within our authority click here:



  • I feel like the county treated me differently or unfairly because of a protected basis or identity

List of protected bases (this list does not reflect all protected bases and does not guarantee that all these bases are protected in every situation): race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, sex, political affiliation, domestic partnership, ethnic group identification, disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship, primary language, and/or immigration status.

You may still file a complaint with us even if you are unsure if the basis is protected or if you want to state any other applicable bases and we can follow-up with you.


  • I feel like the county treated me differently or unfairly because I am involved with a protected activity
  • Examples of protected activities
    • Filing a state hearing request
    • Filing an appeal
    • Making a complaint
    • Participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing