12 Helpful Grants For Single Mothers In California

Chidinma Ofoegbu
September 26, 2023
12 Grants For Single Mothers In California

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Helpful Grants For Single Moms In California

T he California government truly understands the challenges single mothers face and is committed to improving their lives. 

They’ve set up various programs to provide support where needed most – from financial assistance and housing to healthcare, food help, education, job opportunities, and partnerships with charities.

These grants are instrumental in empowering single mothers, enabling them to pursue education, meet essential needs, and maintain their well-being. 

In this blog, we will explore the different grants available for single mothers in California.

If you are a single mother seeking financial support, this blog will provide a clear understanding of the available grants, their eligibility requirements, and the application process.

12 Grants For Single Mothers In California

Single mothers in California have access to diverse assistance programs available throughout the state. 

These programs cover utility bills, rent, healthcare and medical expenses, groceries, and various financial aid forms.

1. CalWORK 

CalWORKs is a public assistance initiative designed to provide financial aid and support to eligible families with children. 

This program is available in all 58 counties across the state and is administered locally by county welfare departments.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for assistance, individuals must meet specific criteria related to citizenship, age, income, resources, assets, and other relevant factors. 

In general, the program is accessible to:-

  • Families with children in the household who have been deprived of parental support or care due to the absence, disability, or death of one or both parents.
  • Families with children where both parents are present in the home, but the primary breadwinner is currently unemployed.
  • Caretaker relatives who are in financial need and responsible for a foster child.

Note: If you are in a high-cost county with no income and a family of three, you can anticipate receiving monthly cash assistance amounting to $1,130.

How To Apply:

You can submit your application through the program’s website or by contacting your county’s social services agency.


Source: Singlemotherguide.com

2. CalFresh

CalFresh is California’s equivalent of the SNAP program, and it is the state’s largest initiative to provide monthly assistance to low-income households, enabling them to purchase the necessary food to maintain adequate nutrition.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • For most households, eligibility hinges on having a monthly gross income (before payroll deductions) equal to or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, considering the household size.
  • SSI/SSP benefits recipients may now qualify for CalFresh Food benefits, even if it’s their first time applying.
  • Certain groups may also meet the eligibility criteria, including homeless individuals, eligible higher education students, SSI/SSP recipients, and many legal immigrants.

How To Apply:

You can complete a CalFresh application at your local county office, via their website, or through their helpline at 1-877-847-3663.

3. Medi-Cal 

Medi-Cal serves as California’s Medicaid program, offering coverage for various medical services to individuals and families with limited financial resources. 

Here are the eligibility requirements:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • California residents with meagre income.
  • Non-elderly adults are eligible if their income falls within 138% of the poverty line.
  • Pregnant women qualify if their income exceeds 213% of the poverty line.
  • Children under 19 can enrol if their family’s household income is equal to or less than 266% of the poverty line, which roughly translates to $66,130 or lower annually for a family of three.
  • Seniors, individuals with disabilities, foster care recipients, pregnant women, and those with specific medical conditions such as tuberculosis, breast cancer, or HIV may also be eligible.
  • California residents who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, legal aliens, or U.S. nationals.

How To Apply:

California operates a State-Based Marketplace called Covered California, where you can apply for Medi-Cal.

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4. California Special Program For Women, Infants & Children (WIC) 

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program in California is designed to provide nutritional education and financial support to mothers with young children. 

Below are the eligibility criteria and steps for applying to the program:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have a low income.
  • Must be pregnant or caring for a child under the age of 5.
  • Must be a resident of California.
  • Must meet income guidelines.
  • Must be assessed by a healthcare professional as being at nutritional risk.

How To Apply:

Use the WIC eligibility assessment tool to determine if you meet the program’s criteria.

If you are eligible, schedule an appointment with a local WIC agency or contact them through the following phone numbers: 1-888-942-9675 or 1-888-WIC-WORKS.


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5. Head Start 

The California Head Start Association offers Head Start and Early Head Start initiatives to support single mothers and children under 5. 

These programs encompass family services, early childhood education, and health and nutrition assistance. 

Below are the criteria for eligibility and the application process:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Children aged under 5.
  • Single mothers.
  • Low-income families.
  • Foster children, homeless families, and families receiving TANF or SSI are also eligible.

How To Apply:

To apply for the program, contact your local Head Start agency. 

Then, complete an application form and submit the required documentation. 

Alternatively, contact the organization at (916) 444-7760 or info@caheadstart.org.

6. Unemployment Insurance 

The California Unemployment Insurance (UI) program offers temporary financial support to individuals out of work for reasons beyond their control. 

Below are the qualifications and steps for applying to this program:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • You must have earned sufficient wages during the specified base period.
  • Your unemployment must be either total or partial.
  • Your job loss should not be your fault.
  • You must be physically capable of working.
  • You are required to seek suitable employment actively.

How To Apply:

You can initiate your application for California unemployment benefits through various methods, including online, by phone, through their 24-hour self-service helpline at 1-866-333-4606, mail, or fax.

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7. Cal-Learn 

Cal-Learn is a statewide initiative within the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program to support pregnant and parenting teenagers.

Its primary goal is to motivate these young parents to complete their high school education or its equivalent, attain self-sufficiency, and build healthy families. 

Below are the requirements for eligibility and the application process:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Pregnant and parenting teenagers under the age of 19.
  • Children who still need to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent.

How To Apply:

Pregnant or parenting teenagers can apply for Cal-Learn services by visiting a county social services agency office where they reside.

8. Cal Grant

The Cal Grant is a state-funded financial aid program designed to assist eligible California residents pursuing higher education. 

The program aims to make education more accessible and affordable for qualified students.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • California residency is a requirement.
  • Attendance at qualifying colleges is mandatory.
  • Meeting specific income and GPA requirements is necessary.

How To Apply:

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application.

9. CalWORKs Child Care: Balancing Work And Parenting

CalWORKs Child Care is a crucial support program for single mothers in California, enabling them to work or attend school while ensuring quality childcare for their children. 

The program recognizes the importance of balancing work and parenting responsibilities.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Participants in the CalWORKs program in need of childcare services qualify.
  • Meeting income and program-specific requirements is essential.

How To Apply:

To apply for CalWORKs Child Care, individuals can submit their applications through the county social services agency or an online portal. 

This process streamlines the application and ensures that eligible participants receive the necessary support.

10. California Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

LIHEAP assists low-income households in California with meeting their energy needs. 

This program is particularly beneficial for single mothers facing challenges in covering energy costs, offering financial support to ensure a stable home environment.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Low-income households with high energy costs are eligible.
  • Meeting income and program-specific requirements is required.

How To Apply:

Applying for LIHEAP involves reaching out to local service providers or community action agencies. 

These organizations facilitate the application process, making it accessible to eligible households in need of energy assistance.

11. California Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

LIHWAP addresses the essential need for clean water by providing assistance to low-income households struggling to pay water bills. 

This program ensures that every family has access to clean and safe water, promoting well-being and health.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Low-income households struggling to pay water bills qualify.
  • Meeting income and other program-specific requirements is necessary.

How To Apply:

Applying for LIHWAP involves contacting local service providers or community action agencies. 

These organizations guide eligible households through the application process, ensuring that clean water remains accessible to those in need.

12. California Paid Family Leave (PFL) Program

The PFL Program provides wage replacement benefits for individuals needing time off work to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member. 

Recognizing the importance of family-related leave, this program supports individuals during significant life events.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Individuals needing time off for family-related reasons are eligible.
  • Meeting income and other program-specific requirements is necessary.

How To Apply:

Applying for Paid Family Leave is done online through the California Employment Development Department’s website

The online platform streamlines the application process, making it convenient for individuals to access the necessary support during important family moments.

Other Supportive Programs And Opportunities For Single Mothers In California

In addition to grants, there are various financial tools, scholarships, and support programs available to empower single mothers in California. 

Explore these options to address specific needs and enhance overall well-being:

1. Educational Loans And Scholarships

Investing in education can open doors to better opportunities. 

Explore student loans and scholarships designed to assist single mothers in pursuing higher education. 

Check with educational institutions, private organizations, and government programs or visit California Student Aid Commission for available options.

2. Emergency Financial Assistance Programs

Several non-profit organizations and charities in California provide emergency financial assistance to single mothers facing unexpected crises, such as medical emergencies, car repairs, or utility bills. 

Explore local resources like churches, community centers, or organizations like United Way for potential assistance.

3. Women’s Business Centers

For single mothers interested in entrepreneurship, Women’s Business Centers provide resources, training, and support to help women start and grow their own businesses. 

These centers offer guidance on business planning, access to loans, and networking opportunities. 

Check with local Women’s Business Centers for available programs.

For more information – Women’s Business Center (WBC).

4. Legal Aid For Single Moms

Legal aid organizations in California offer assistance to single moms in navigating legal issues, including family law matters, landlord-tenant disputes, and domestic violence cases. 

Visit California Courts access free or low-cost legal support.

5. Child Support Services

If you’re not receiving the necessary child support, consider reaching out to the California Department of Child Support Services

They can help single moms establish paternity, locate absent parents, and ensure the financial support your child deserves.

6. Career Development And Job Training Programs

Investing in career development and job training can enhance employment prospects. 

Explore EDD Employment Development Department State of California Home or local workforce development initiatives that offer training opportunities for in-demand careers.

7. Support Groups And Networking Opportunities

Joining support groups and networking organizations for single mothers can provide valuable emotional support, shared experiences, and potential job opportunities. 

Look for local community groups, online forums, or organizations like Single Mothers by Choice.

8. Housing Assistance Programs

Explore housing assistance programs that offer low-interest loans or down payment assistance for single mothers looking to purchase a home. 

Organizations like the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) provide resources for affordable housing solutions.


Being a single mother often brings financial challenges, but in California, the government offers grants to help ease the financial burden of raising children alone. 

If you meet the eligibility criteria for any of the above-mentioned grants, don’t hesitate to start the application process.

We’re confident that this blog has provided you with valuable information about grants available to single mothers in California. 

If you’d like more helpful content like this, subscribe to our newsletter. 

By subscribing, you’ll stay informed about our latest blogs and gain insights into achieving financial stability and prosperity. 

Always remember knowledge is your path to a brighter financial future.


To be eligible for cash aid in California, you must reside in the state and be either a U.S. citizen, legal alien, or qualified alien. Additionally, you should be unemployed or facing underemployment and adhere to specific income and resource constraints. The CalWORKs program offers financial aid to eligible families through grants. You can initiate your application online through BenefitsCal or by visiting your local county welfare department.

The Pregnant Women Assistance Program (PWA) is a program funded by the state. It offers financial aid and a referral to the HEN program for 24 consecutive months to low-income pregnant women who do not qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or State Family Assistance. This assistance begins when the department confirms their eligibility for PWA.

California Paid Family Leave (PFL) provides financial assistance for up to 8 weeks to eligible individuals who need time off to care for a family member, bond with a new child, or deal with a family member’s military deployment. Payments are typically 60-70% of your average weekly earnings from 5-18 months before your claim start date.


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