CalWORKs/GROW Programs Administration

happy children with their parents

  CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids) Program

The Department of Public Social Services’ (DPSS) CalWORKs program provides temporary financial assistance and employment services to eligible families with minor children. Eligible families may receive cash aid, Medi-Cal benefits and food stamps.  Most parents receiving CalWORKs aid are required to participate in a comprehensive Welfare-to-Work program entitled “Greater Avenues for Independence”, commonly referred to as GAIN.  When needed, CalWORKs participants may receive specialized supportive services which include mental health, substance abuse and/or domestic violence treatment services.


The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) CalWORKs Programs Administration is responsible for ensuring that the fifty-two (52) directly-operated and contracted clinics provide specialized mental health supportive services consistent with LACDMH’s agreement with the DPSS.

Supportive services are offered as Welfare-to-Work (W-t-W) activities to assist participants in overcoming barriers to employment. As a result, supportive services for participants in W-t-W activities may also include subsidized childcare, transportation, and work related expenses to enable participation in Welfare-to-Work activities. The GAIN Services Worker (GSW), together with the CalWORKs participant, develop the Welfare-to-Work plan to include any and all supportive services.

CalWORKs mental health supportive services differ from traditional outpatient treatment as the focus of treatment is specifically designed to address mental health barriers to employment.  The long-term goals of treatment are employment and self-sufficiency, and the emphasis in the therapeutic process is on managing the symptoms and functional impairments identified as preventing the participant from working.  In conjunction with therapeutic treatment, providers utilize an evidence-based practice called Individual Placement and Support (IPS) – Supported Employment to assist clients with obtaining and retaining employment.

LACDMH CalWORKs Programs Administration monitors provider agency expenditures, provides ongoing training and consultation for agency staff, and provides program oversight to ensure that CalWORKs participants receive consistent, high-quality, employment-focused mental health services countywide.

Learn more about the GAIN program, including the job club and other supportive services.

Learn more about the CalWORKs program, including how to apply.