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The California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is the California welfare implementation of the federal welfare-to-work Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that gives cash aid and services to eligible needy California families.


To qualify for eligibility, one must:[1]

  • have residency in California,
  • be either pregnant or responsible for a child under 19 years of age,
  • be a U.S. national, citizen, legal alien, or permanent resident,
  • have low or very low income, and
  • be either under-employed (working for very low wages), unemployed, or about to become unemployed.


It is managed by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), but is operated and administered locally by the 58 counties of California.

In Los Angeles County, the county Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) administers CalWORKs. It has a caseload larger than any other jurisdiction except the States of California and New York and an annual budget of over $3 billion.


It was created by the Welfare-to-Work Act of 1997.[2] It replaced the former Greater Avenues to Independence (GAIN) program, the California implementation of the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " - California CalWORKs (TANF)". Benefits.Gov. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  2. ^ Assembly Bill 1542. California State Assembly. "1997–1998 Session of the Legislature". 1997–1998 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 270. 

External links[edit]