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Scholarships for African Americans & Top HBCUs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities produce incredibly powerful leaders in America, most recently noted is Madam Vice President; Kamala Harris. HBCUs are illustrious institutions that allow students to display their culture unapologetically. African-Americans that want a deeper understanding of black history, noble alumni networking, and a smaller professor-to-student ratio should seriously consider higher education at an HBCU.

In honor of HBCU Homecoming season, BestColleges.com’s team of experts compiled educational resources for California Department of Social Services. Some of the key topics discussed in our resource are the top twenty-five HBCUs, how to choose the right HBCU, and additional resources for African-Americans. As a supplemental resource, we have also prepared a financial aid guide filled with scholarships specifically for black students. Review our guide below:

Best HBCUs

Scholarships to help to Fund Student's HBCU Education
We need your help to connect your community with this information guide to continue ongoing investment in the education of black students. Include the above link on your site here or any other page that you see fit: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/independent-living/foster-youth-resources

Alert: Important Change to Public Charge Rule

Immigrants and their loved ones across California can seek and accept medical care, food assistance, and public housing without fear or confusion about public charge consequences thanks to a new public charge rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which goes into effect December 23, 2022.  Under the final rule, participation in CalFresh, public housing, or Medi-Cal (except for long-term care), will not be considered as part of the public charge determination.  Also, a reminder that medical testing, treatment, and preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, are not considered for public charge purposes.  For additional information, please see the following:

  • Joint statement from California health and human services leaders in response to the federal public charge changes.  
  • Public Charge Guide for individuals and families with questions about the these changes in federal policy:  (English) ( Español)

Individuals in California seeking assistance are encouraged to consult one of many state-funded organizations that provide legal services to immigrants.  Here is a  list of immigration services providers  funded by CDSS.

Beware of EBT Theft and Scams

VIDEO: Watch Out for EBT Scams!

California has been experiencing an increase in occurrence of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) theft. In an effort to educate EBT cardholders and mitigate this activity, the California Department of Social Services is providing security tips for those who use EBT cards to receive food and cash assistance in the following linked video. If you think your benefits may have been stolen, you should immediately call the customer service telephone number on the back of your EBT card, (877) 328-9677, or contact your county social services agency.

Wildfire Resources and Information

Impacted by a wildfire? For details on financial assistance, debris removal, and more, visit this Cal OES webpage.

Afghan Arrival Response

Concerned about the Afghanistan evacuation? Interested in locating resources or offering assistance to Afghan newcomers? Visit the Refugee Programs Bureau webpage for all of these details and more.

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Information

Rent and Utility Relief

Rent and utility relief is available through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief program for income-eligible California renters and their landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. Verify eligibility and apply today!

Apply for Rent and Utility Relief Call to Action Text Image with phone number 833-430-2122

COVID-19 Community-Based Outreach Campaign

The Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) are working in partnership with The Center at Sierra Health Foundation and the California Community Foundation to administer funding, as authorized by Senate Bill 115 (SB 115), to support outreach via community-based organizations. to disproportionately impacted populations, including workers in higher-risk industries. The outreach will prioritize interactive engagements designed to connect individuals with information and resources related to the COVID-19 vaccine, public health guidance, workers’ rights, and other State resources, including the public safety net. Community-based organizations selected to participate will be awarded funding to conduct outreach over a period of 6 months that will end in August.

Golden State Grant Program

The Golden State Grant program provides a one-time $600 payment to all eligible CalWORKs Assistance Units as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplementary Payment (SSP) and Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) recipients. These payments do not impact your CalWORKs or CalFresh eligibility or monthly benefits. The payments will be automatically sent to households. Read more: CalWORKs | SSI/SSP | CAPI

Golden State Stimulus Payments for IHSS Program Providers

To qualify for a Golden State Stimulus payment, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers must have filed their 2020 tax returns and have received the CaliforniaEarned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC). IHSS providers who are exempt from income taxes may still be eligible for the CalEITC but must file a tax return using their year-to-date wages, which can be found on their last paystub of the 2020 tax year. To learn more about the Golden State Stimulus, visit the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) website, chat with an FTB representative online, or call the FTB at (800) 852-5711.

Adult Protective Services Hotline

If you or someone you know needs protection from abuse and neglect, call the statewide Adult Protective Services hotline: (833) 401-0832. Individuals can enter their 5-digit ZIP code to be connected to their county Adult Protective Services staff, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Foster Care Ombudsperson Hotline

If you are concerned about the care, placement, services, or rights of children in foster care, call the Foster Care Ombudsperson hotline: (877) 846-1602. Service is available Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, from 8 am to 5 pm.

Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect Through Distance Learning

If you are an educator involved in distance learning, this guide from CDSS and CDE offers tips to help you fulfill your role as a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse and neglect.

For information on COVID-19, please visit:


COVID-19 Guidance:

About CDSS

California Department of Social Services
744 P Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

For public assistance case issues, inquiries, or complaints, e-mail our Public Inquiry and Response Unit at piar@dss.ca.gov.

For assistance with Pandemic EBT, please call the P-EBT Helpline at 1-877-328-9677.

To sign up for direct outreach from CDSS visit our Statewide Outreach page to lean more.

For assistance with Golden State Grants, please call the Golden State Grant Program Helpline at 1-866-312-3100.

For Out of State Inquiries please use the following list to reach the appropriate county.

Work With a Purpose

The California Department of Social Services supports programs which serve more than eight million people across our state. This work, accomplished everyday, provides stability, opportunity and promotes wellness in communities throughout California. Come join our team to experience what it is like to enjoy 'Work With a Purpose'.