Basic Needs

There are additional resources available to you to help cover basic needs.

Food Assistance


You may qualify for the state’s food assistance program called CalFresh. This provides money each month to buy most foods at many markets and food stores.

Determining eligibility for CalFresh is complicated because it varies by county and depends on individual circumstances. It’s best to apply online at, then talk with a specialist to find out whether you qualify. You can also call the toll free number 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD) to find out about eligibility.

As a student, there are some special allowances that might help you qualify.

  • If you are in the EOPS or CAFYES program at your college, then you are exempt from the work rule that generally applies to CalFresh. You’ll still need to meet the other CalFresh criteria. If you are enrolled in CARE or CAFYES in addition to EOPS, it is critical that you identify yourself as an EOPS student when applying for CalFresh to qualify for the work exemption.
  • If you are enrolled in school at least half-time and also work at least 20 hours or have a child under 12, you may qualify.

To find out how to apply for benefits in your county, call the toll free number 1-877-847-3663 (FOOD).

To get more information about eligibility and to apply online: This site also allows you to confidentially enter your personal information without setting up an account to find out whether you qualify for benefits.

Local Resources

Your college or community may have resources available to assist with accessing emergency food assistance as well. Contact the colleges foster youth liaison or the county Independent Living Program to find out what resources are available.

Medical Care


If you live in California and you were in foster care on your 18th birthday or later, and you are younger than 26 then you qualify for free medical care through Medi-Cal. You only have to apply one time to stay covered until age 26. This coverage is not based on income so you can earn income and still qualify. CoveredTil26 includes medical care, dental care, eye care, mental healthcare, and substance abuse counseling.

All the information you need is available at CoveredTil26

Covered California

If you were not in foster care at the age of 18, you still may qualify for free or reduced cost health insurance through Covered California.

Depending on your income, you may qualify for free health care through the Medi-Cal program, or you may qualify for substantial discounts on private insurance from companies like Blue Cross or Kaiser Permanente. If you have children, they may be able to receive coverage as well.

You can go to the Covered California website and enter your information to see what you qualify for.

Resources for Parents

If you have a child, Kid’s Health offers helpful information for parents, kids and teens to help optimize health and well-being.

Mental Health Support

A Home Within offers free counseling for foster youth. To request information, go to their therapy referral website. Availability may be limited, depending on your location.

Your local county department of mental health may have resources available as well. For a list of county contact numbers, CLICK HERE.

Child Care

Childcare Resource Center provides a list of state and federally funded programs to help you pay for childcare.

National Diaper Bank Network has a list of diaper banks across the state of California.