Civil Rights

The Unit administers the civil rights program based on State and Federal laws and regulations, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Our program ensures effective access and nondiscrimination to all applicants and/or recipients of benefits and services provided by the Department and county welfare departments. Activities include discrimination complaint investigations, county compliance monitoring, technical assistance, training, and ongoing monitoring for state and federal regulatory compliance.

Our Mission

We facilitate compliance with all state and federal civil rights mandates governing equal and effective access to benefits and services. We are dedicated to providing our constituents with education, services, and proactive leadership necessary to ensure that all programs administered or supervised by the California Department of Social Services are done so equitably and effectively.

The Civil Rights Unit

This web site provides County Welfare Departments and the public with immediate access to pertinent information that is related to the California Department of Social Services' Civil Rights Unit (CRU). This information is used to ensure that all of the policies and regulations that promote non-discrimination and the effective delivery of benefits and services are being followed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other state and federal laws and regulations and that all eligible individuals have access to benefits and services.

I would like to file a:

Discrimination or Retaliation Complaint Against a CDSS Funded Program

Important Note: We only have authority to review discriminatory or retaliatory actions by county welfare departments in programs funded by CDSS like CalFresh, CalWORKs, IHSS, and Children's Services, to name a few. We do not have authority to accept complaints related to businesses like grocery or retail stores, or other government departments or agencies like the Social Security Administration because these are not CDSS funded programs. 

For instructions on how to file a discrimination or retaliation complaint that is within our authority click here:



  • I feel like the county treated me differently or unfairly because of a protected basis or identity

List of protected bases (this list does not reflect all protected bases and does not guarantee that all these bases are protected in every situation): race, color, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, sex, political affiliation, domestic partnership, ethnic group identification, disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship, primary language, and/or immigration status.

You may still file a complaint with us even if you are unsure if the basis is protected or if you want to state any other applicable bases and we can follow-up with you.


  • I feel like the county treated me differently or unfairly because I am involved with a protected activity
  • Examples of protected activities
    • Filing a state hearing request
    • Filing an appeal
    • Making a complaint
    • Participating in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing