Kern County public assistance and government resources.

The primary location to contact for public assistance is the Kern County Department of Human Services, and the government agency offers various state of California and federal government assistance programs. Resources provided range from food, job training to health care and cash assistance.

The main cash assistance/welfare/job training program is CalWORKs. This is the Kern County Welfare-to-Work Program, and it helps thousands of people across the region every year. The purpose of the California Welfare-to-Work Program is to provide short term financial help as well as self-sufficiency. It also offers more medium to longer term assistance for people to prepare for work, help them gain new skills and find a job. After all it is well known that finding a job will help people become self-sufficient, will allow individuals to pay the bills and your family will enjoy a better way of life as a result. In addition, your new job will also help position you as a positive role model for your children, build your future, and increase your self-confidence.

So some short term cash assistance can be offered as part of this Kern County public program. Also, Welfare-to-Work helps many people find the employment necessary to become independent. If necessary, you can learn new skills or improve existing ones.

CalFresh helps individuals and families in Kern County buy more healthy foods and groceries. The public assistance program can help people buy more breads, fruits, rice and vegetables year round for their family. The county and state recommend that people eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. CalFresh will allow people to stretch their food budget to buy food for the whole family.

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is the new name of Kern County’s welfare program. It is basically the state of California's new welfare reform package, and the GAIN and AFDC programs have been replaced by the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program. Some of what is can provide is below.

Child Care and the cost of it is guaranteed for every infant, child (up to age 10), for every participating adult. Additional public aid may be for children up to age 13, however the reimbursement is only available up to the extent government funding is available. Any state child care is subsidized for only up to two years after a recipient leaves public aid, depending on his/her or their family income.





Health and Medical Care benefits are available from Medi-Cal, and this is a county and statewide comprehensive program of dental and health services. It is available to those in Kern County who are eligible and meet income thresholds. It can pay for Medical, Dental, and Vision bills and benefits. Medi-Cal is an public assistance program which pays for health care services and related costs that are provided to qualifying individuals and families who live in Kern County and Bakersfield California and who fall within certain income levels.

There are two main health insurance plans available in Kern County. They include the Health Net as well as the Kern Family Healthcare program, and both of these make available primary care physicians, hospitals, specialists, and other medical professionals for meeting health care needs. Various health and insurance benefits are available for these plans and from Medi-Cal, including checkups, medications, vision services, dental care, cleanings, and other bill paying programs.

There are several Kern County Department of Human Services offices in the region, and some of the leading ones are below.

  • Bakersfield has the main office, and is located at 100 E California Ave, Bakersfield, California 93307, dial (661) 631-6000
  • Lake Isabella, 7050 Lake Isabella Blvd, Suite 130, Lake Isabella, CA 93240, call (760) 549-2006
    Lamont, 8300 Segrue Rd, Lamont, California 93241, telephone number is (661) 635-4000




By Jon McNamara

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