Family Reunification

Family Reunification Program

When children are removed from a CalWORKs home, the parent(s) often face(s) difficult challenges reunifying the family, such as domestic violence, mental health issues, and substance use.  The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has the resources to help parents address many of these needs.

Family Reunification (FR), Assembly Bill (AB) 429, is a State mandate that requires counties to provide CalWORKs 
Welfare-to-Work (WtW) activities and support services to the parents of children who have been removed from the home by Child Welfare Services and placed in out-of-home care, provided that the county determines that the activities and services are necessary to reunify the family.

These WtW CalWORKs funded services may continue for up to 180 days from the date all the children are removed from their 
parent’s home.  Counties may grant a Good Cause extension to the 180-day period, and allow eligible individuals to continue participating in the services up to an additional six (6) months beyond that time, if it is determined that they need more time to complete their reunification efforts and if the family remains otherwise eligible for CalWORKs.

Family Reunification Identification

Eligible participants are identified by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) staff and referred to DPSS through an established process.  Services are coordinated through WtW, CalWORKs, and DCFS staff along with the participant.

Family Reunification Criteria

Families are eligible for FR services when:

  • All children are removed from the home and placed in out of home care;
  • Family was receiving CalWORKs when children were removed from the home; and
  • A DCFS FR Plan exists.

Family Reunification Services

FR Services are voluntary and based on the needs of the participant, and the recommendations, or required services by DCFS, or 
the Courts.  WtW/GAIN Staff offer eligible participants FR services which are incorporated into the WtW Plan.  FR services may include:

  • Mental Health Services;
  • Domestic Violence Services;
  • Substance Use Disorder Services;
  • FR Housing Support Services;
  • FR Moving Assistance Services;
  • Transportation without duplication;
  • Education and Training services; and
  • Employment Services.


Participants in need of financial assistance after their children are removed are eligible to apply for General Relief (GR).  They may opt to receive their FR services through the WtW Program and still receive GR benefits.  FR Services do not affect other aid 
program benefits.


Participants who decline to volunteer for WtW FR Services or who do not comply with WtW program requirements are 
ineligible for FR Services.


Completion of FR WtW Services


Participants who complete FR WtW services, will be assisted with coordination to reinstate the CalWORKs case upon 
reunification.  This process allows the family a seamless return to normalcy.



We can help!

If you are a former CalWORKs participant and you are participating in the Department of Children and Family Services, 
Family Reunification Program, let your Eligibility, GROW or GAIN Worker know.  Some of these services can be included in your Welfare-to-Work Plan.

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