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SACRAMENTO, CA May 11, 2020 – The County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA) today joined the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) in warning Californians about false information being circulated on social media related to California health and human services programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter circulating online falsely states that individuals who receive services including CalWORKs cash aid, Medi-Cal, or CalFresh are required to be tested for the virus or lose their benefits. The letter also states that individuals testing positive through this process will have their children taken into the foster care system (this is also false). The letter then links to a fake website.

“At a time when hundreds of thousands of Californians are reaching out for help from our public benefits system, for someone to prey on their fears and uncertainties is outrageous,” said Cathy Senderling-McDonald, CWDA’s deputy executive director. “We hope the people behind this fake letter are identified and held responsible, and that their actions don’t frighten those in need of support away from the critical programs and services counties offer.”

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CWDA wants the public to know that state departments and county human services departments will never ask about your health status in connection to an application for benefits. Similarly, children must be subject to abuse or neglect to enter foster care. Children cannot be put into foster care just because a parent may be ill.

The appropriate authorities have been alerted to investigate the letter. To prevent Californians from being deceived by this misinformation, CDSS and CWDA are asking the public not to share it on social media.

For more information and additional resources, visit: https://www.cwda.org/post/beware-fake-letter-circulating