Riverside California public assistance.

Families in Riverside California who need help can look into public assistance programs. The government and the Department of Public Social Services office administer a wide range of resources for low income and struggling individuals. Service can provide cash assistance for basic needs such as housing, medical bills, food, and more. Riverside County also administers many state of California as well as federal government assistance programs, and the Department of Public Social Services office is always a great place to call.

Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program, also known as WIC, can provide assistance to Riverside families to help them meet their nutritional needs. Food, supplements, and groceries are offered for low-income breast-feeding women, infants, and children up to age 5, and pregnant women who would have a medical or nutritional risk without proper nutrition. Call 951-358-5311.

The public assistance programs for immigrants include Refugee Cash Assistance as well as Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants. The CAPI program is a state of California public program that provides grants and cash assistance to disabled and elderly immigrants who may not be eligible for federal government SSI or other federal government public assistance. Therefore those individuals who live in Riverside and who are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be able to receive cash from this statewide program. The other option is the Refugee Cash Assistance, or RCA, program. This is also available for people who enter the United States as refugees and who are not eligible to other federal government or Riverside California public assistance programs. Telephone number is 1-888-960-4477.

Self-sufficiency is provided by a program known as CalWORKs Greater Avenues for Independence. This is administered by the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services. People who currently receive public assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can get help becoming self-sufficient. Adults who receive cash assistance from Riverside County and who are able to work are registered with GAIN when their public aid is approved. There are two main components of the program.

During phase 1, all participants will be strongly encouraged to start working as soon as a relevant job is found. So clients of the GAIN program will be able to access job search and job readiness assistance, they will get free advice and support in identifying and overcoming barriers to employment, and be able to use resources such as the focused use of on-the-job training as well as adult basic education.





After getting a job, individuals will move onto Phase 2. Work with a social worker and you will reduce poverty by career planning, job retention, and development of an education and training. Riverside County California works closely with the Riverside County Office of Education, four local community colleges, Riverside County Economic Development Agency’s Workforce Development Board, high schools, and the local housing authority. Some of the public assistance and social services offered include: Basic education; Assistance with job and occupational skills training related expenses; Child care financial assistance; Job search preparation; Transportation assistance; Assistance with work related expenses; Post-secondary education; and On-the-job training.

Food assistance and vouchers are available in Riverside California from the CalFresh/SNAP Assistance Program. This public assistance program provides working poor and low-income households with a debit card that they can use at most grocery stores and supermarkets to buy food. Benefits of CalFresh include:

  • Get enough food and groceries for the entire family.
  • Gain access to healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
  • Food stamps are also offered in a crisis. If a family is a migrant or seasonal farm worker, is just about to run out of food, or has less than $100, then the food stamp service can be expedited.

Riverside California public health programs

Several different resources are administered across the county. A summary of the various resources are below.

Healthy Families Program – The county can offer low-cost health coverage for children ages 0 – 19 from this service. Call 1-888-747-1222.

BabyCal is a public assistance program that will offer pregnant women early and ongoing prenatal care and help for medical bills. Call 1-800-222-9999.





Free or low cost health insurance is provided by Medi-Cal. It is offered for low income Riverside California residents. This is the state’s version of the federal government Medicaid program. The resource offers free or low cost health coverage and insurance for the disabled, children, pregnant women, families, the elderly, and blind.

Bills and expenses that Medi-Cal can pay for include dental, the expenses of pre-natal, vision, medications, and nursing home care as well as physical therapy, pharmacy services, other medical expenses such as emergency medical transportation.

People who tend to qualify may receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Program (SSI/SSP), receive cash or public assistance, or who meet age, disability or income guidelines.

Women who are 30 weeks or more into their pregnancy may be able to get help from Access for Infants and Mothers. This government assistance program provides health care and medical services to pregnant women, at least 30 weeks into the pregnancy, if their income is too high to qualify for no-cost Medi-Cal. Call 1-800-433-2611.

Child Health Disability Prevention (CHDP) – Covers low income children whose family meets income levels, including income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). CHDP provides preventative health screening examinations. Phone 951-358-5481.

Free or low cost Family Planning Services can offer information and options for birth control and family planning. The phone number for more information or to apply is 1-800-942-1054.




The Riverside County Family Resource Center works with local non-profits, charities, and organizations to organize financial assistance and social services for people who need help across the county. Several main resources are offered, and they include:

  • Literacy and Education skills, including writing and reading skills, educational services, and English as a Second Language.
  • Self-Sufficiency, which can include job and career development for adults and youth, help finding and accessing job training, and support for job searches.
  • Resource Development, Information & Referral Services: Learn where support resources exist. For example, information on utility bill and rental assistance; free tax preparation services; and basic needs assistance. Find how to locate transitional housing, legal aid services, and assistance programs from on-profits.
  • Life Skills such as parenting classes, home management skills, family support services, and budgeting.


By Jon McNamara

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