Department of Social Services

Family Assistance

We help Families make ends meet

Parents who have lost their jobs, or become incapacitated or disabled, and who have minor children, may receive temporary assistance for food, shelter and basic living needs.  Employable parents can receive help finding work, child care, and work training or short-term education, and can receive services to overcome barriers to work such as domestic violence or substance abuse.

CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity & Responsibility to Kids)

Services:  Provides cash aid and services to eligible needy families.  Eligible families receive time-limited assistance for food, shelter, and basic living needs.

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

  • Families with a child or children in the home who is deprived of parental care due to absence, unemployment, disability, or death of a parent.
  • Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child or children.
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) passed regulations that prohibit convicted felons, fleeing felons, and probation/parole violators from receiving CalWORKs, defined as follows:
  • Drug felons convicted of a felony drug charge on or after January 1, 1998.
  • Fleeing felons with a felony warrant issued (unless the individual can prove they were unaware of warrant); fleeing felon status is resolved when the individual is arrested or the warrant has been dismissed.
  • A Probation/Parole violator is an individual on probation or parole, whose Probation or Parole Officer has notified the courts that the individual is in violation.
How to receive services:  Families must complete an application to request services and may ask for immediate help in certain emergency circumstances such as little or no cash and/or emergency housing, food, utilities, clothing, or medical care needs.  Applications may be requested by calling our toll-free automated phone number (1-866-404-4007), may completed onlineor in person at one of our three locations.

Welfare to Work (WTW)

Services:  CalWORKs requires participation in work activities as a condition of eligibility to cash assistance payments for families, and imposes a four-year lifetime limit to receive cash assistance for adults who are able to work and not exempt from participating in work activities.

Assistance:  WTW provides assessment and case management services to assist CalWORKs adults in developing goals and a plan to obtain employment, and provides transitional supportive services such as subsidized child care, transportation assistance, and work- or training-related expenses to address barriers to finding and keeping a job.

How to receive services:  CalWORKs recipients who are not exempt are required to participate in WTW activities.  We will evaluate whether you are required to participate in WTW at the following times:

  • When CalWORKs is granted
  • When eligibility for CalWORKs is redetermined (yearly or when you report a change)
  • When you have a change in exemption status

Subsidized Child Care

Services:  Subsidized child care is a three-stage system; the goal of subsidized child care is to provide safe, quality, and appropriate child care services to CalWORKs families and other low income families who meet state income and eligibility requirements and to provide a seamless transition between subsidized child care stages.

Assistance:  Stage One subsidized child care is administered by our department and ensures that child care assistance is available to every WTW participant with a child under the age of 13.  CalWORKs families move to Stage Two subsidized child care once their work or work activity has stabilized, and continues for up to 24 months after discontinuance of CalWORKs.  Stage Three subsidized child care begins once the 24 month Stage Two limit is reached, as long as there is a funded space and the family meets eligibility and income requirements.  Alternative Payment Programs under contract with the California Department of Education administer Stages Two and Three.

How to receive services:  CalWORKs recipients should contact their WTW Case Manager for information about Stage One subsidized child care.  Children's Resource and Referral of Santa Barbara County can provide information about Stage Two and Three subsidized child care.

 Office Locations

Santa Barbara   Lompoc  Santa Maria
 234 Camino Del Remedio       1100 W. Laurel Ave.       1444 S. Broadway     
(805) 681-4401  (805) 737-7080  (805) 346-7135

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