History of
California Work Opportunity and
Responsibility to Kids
(CalWORKs) 

1929 - ​The Great Depression hits.

1930 - Unemployment increases and the depression deepens. Private social service agencies are exhausted and have no resources left to provide. 

1931 - Depression grows more severe. President Hoover maintains his belief that private charity should meet the needs of the distressed. The unemployed go unprotected against hunger, cold, and illness. Tuberculosis, malnutrition and suicide are increasing. Requests for federal action are heard more often.

1932 - Finally, President Hoover consented to sign the Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932. It authorized $300 million in loans to the states, counties, and cities for relief work.

1933 - President Roosevelt abolished shor loans to the states, counties, and cities and replace it with the new concept of federl respoinsibility for human welfare.

1935 - President Roosevelt expands on the idea of human welfare and relief programs and creates a Works Program Administration.

1935 - ​August 14, 1935 ​Social Security Act becomes law. The Act introduces three main programs, social insurance, public categorical assistance and health and welfare services. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is created. This Bill allowed $18 per month for one child and $12 per month for each additional child.

1940 - 360,000 families are receiving AFDC.

1950 - AFDC grows by 110,000 families.

1960 - AFDC grows by 800,000 families as President Johnson attempts to wage "War on Poverty".

1988 - Job Opportunites and Basic Skills (JOBS) act was passed by U.S. Congress to assist families to move from aid to employment.

1996 - Federal Welfare Reform Act is enacted. Former Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)  is redesignedand becomes Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) Program. California's system  within TANF is California Work Opportunity and Respoinsibiltiy to Kids (CalWORKs). Some key aspects  resulting from the CalWORKs system are,

    • Time limits
    • Welfare-to-work activity requirements
    • Minimum hours of participation in activities
    • Education is included as an allowabe welfare-to-work activity

1996 - 2007 - Sharp decline in spending on CalWORKs since Welfare Reform Act.

2007 - The Great Recession hits.

2008 - Policy makers cut cash aid grants to close budget gaps.