About CDSS

What We Do

The California Department of Social Services is one of 16 departments and offices in the California Health and Human Services Agency.

The Department is comprised of more than 4,200 employees who are responsible for the oversight and administration of programs serving California's most vulnerable residents. 

History of CDSS

How it was then - The California Department of Social Services began humbly as a six- member Board of Charities and Corrections in 1903. The Board evaluated and reported on 12 charitable and correctional institutions, 60 county hospitals and charity houses, 57 county jails, and 300 city and town jails and lock-ups. In the following years, the Board sought to improve the welfare of children and adults. Board recommendations for improvement in 1908 included removal of children from orphan asylums to good homes; state enforcement of child support payments by parents; enforcement of the compulsory school attendance in order to reduce juvenile crime; and enforcement of child labor laws.

How it is now - Today, in a society that has become increasingly diverse and complex, the Department strives to carry out its mission of providing aid, services and protection to needy children and adults. At the same time, the Department strives to strengthen and encourage individual responsibility and independence for families. By managing and funding its programs, the objectives of the Department are carried out through the 4,200 employees located in 51 offices throughout the state, the 58 county welfare departments, offices and a host of community-based organizations.

The California Department of Social Services' Mission Statement

"The mission of the California Department of Social Services is to serve, aid, and protect needy and vulnerable children and adults in ways that strengthen and preserve families, encourage personal responsibility, and foster independence."