Trained county staff dedicated to the field of aging help ensure the safety and well-being of elders and dependent adults. Staff investigate allegations of abuse and neglect, assess client needs, and provide short-term case management and bridging to other services. County adult and aging departments also educate the community about elder abuse prevention and identification, as well as how communities can support a person’s right to dignity, self-determination and to live in the least restrictive environment possible.
The CalFresh program provides monthly benefits to assist low-income households with purchasing food and is one of the most critical poverty-fighting programs in communities. Known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, it is open to eligible legal noncitizens between the ages of 18 and 65. In California, nearly 2.5 million households receive CalFresh assistance to supplement their budgets.
The CalWORKs program – California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids - provides cash assistance to families with children who need help with housing, food, utilities or clothing, as well as welfare-to-work activities for adults, such as looking for a job, attending job training, or furthering their education. It is California’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF, program. In California, more than 530,000 families receive assistance through the CalWORKs program.
County human service agencies work with the community to ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth through the programs of Child Welfare Services, Foster Care and Adoption. County staff provide protective and supportive services in the belief that children and their families deserve stable nurturing homes and a supportive environment.
County human services fiscal staff provide essential financial, administrative, planning, program, and policy support to their local agency. They develop and monitor the agency’s budget and are responsible for payment and revenue claiming services for the agency.
The In-Home Supportive Services program, IHSS, assists low-income older adults and people with disabilities with in-home care in order to help them remain safely and independently in their homes. IHSS is considered an alternative to out-of-home care, such as nursing homes or board and care facilities. IHSS services may includes domestic services such as housework, meal preparation and laundry, personal care services and accompaniment to medical appointments. More than 467,000 individuals use the IHSS program to remain safely in their homes.
Information technology projects are an integral part of the work county human services staff do to serve clients and all Californians. Well-designed technology allows human services professionals to focus on serving their customers’ needs. Counties have pioneered many advances, such as the use of imaging systems and mobile technologies, to better support the work of their staff.
County human service agencies administer the Medi-Cal program on behalf of the state, offering free or low-cost health coverage for California residents, including low-income children, pregnant women, families and low-income adults who meet eligibility requirements. The Medi-Cal program is California’s version of the federal Medicaid program. Nearly one in three Californians receive Medi-Cal health care coverage.