California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is California’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program. CalWORKs provides temporary financial assistance and employment focused services to families with minor children who have income and property below state maximum limits for their family size. There are two major components to CalWORKs:

  • Employment assistance
  • Financial assistance

Employment Assistance

Welfare-to-Work is a program within CalWORKs that assists families in becoming self-sufficient through employment. All adults in the family, or assistance unit, are required to participate in their unique employment plan for self-sufficiency.

The plan is prepared following state requirements, the individual’s unique skills and incorporates local employers, nonprofit agencies, and education / training resources. Welfare-to-Work offers numerous services to assist families become self-sufficient.

These include:

  • Assistance to obtain items needed to become or remain employed
  • Child care assistance
  • Domestic violence services
  • Interview preparation
  • Job search assistance
  • Learning disabilities screening and evaluation
  • Mental health treatment
  • On-the-job training
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Transportation assistance
  • Vocational development assessment
  • Work experience training


CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work participants who meet federal work participation requirements are eligible to receive employment assistance while receiving CalWORKs financial assistance. CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work participants who do not meet the federal requirements are currently limited to 24 months of Welfare-to-Work employment assistance.
Financial Assistance

Families may be eligible if they meet income and property level requirements:

  • Two-parent families may be eligible if they are unemployed or underemployed
  • Caretaker relatives of a minor may also be eligible to receive assistance
  • Income requirements vary based on family size and type of income
  • Property that counts towards the limit can be valued at no more than $10,211
  • The property limit for a family with a disabled member or member over 60 is $15,317.

Financial Assistance to adults in families is limited to a cumulative of 48 months in California. This is a lifetime limit.