Step Forward

San Diego

About Us

The CalWORKs Step Forward Program, in collaboration with MHS, Inc., is funded by the County of San Diego to provide outpatient behavioral health services to participants in the CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program.  The program serves individuals residing in San Diego County. Participants and their families are provided with extensive services to reduce barriers toward employment. 

Program Description

Our mission is to serve those families who are struggling with issues such as domestic violence, mental illness, and poverty and guide them to self-sufficiency as they transition from the welfare system to gainful employment. Topics addressed include: depression and anxiety, co-occurring disorders, trauma and domestic violence, parenting skills, healthy relationships, stress management, employment readiness, and a variety of other life skills. The program is comprehensive and works collaboratively with outside resources to provide the most effective and efficient care.


Within the welcoming atmosphere of the program, the widely diverse staff provides the following: 

  • Group support consists of a psycho-educational approach and networking with community resources. Most groups use a comprehensive curriculum or evidenced-based practice as well as various learning modalities.
  • Individual therapy and intensive case management services are provided on-site and off-site at various locations to accommodate the client's goals and the needs of their family.
  • Employment preparation and general vocational services are provided on-site, including testing, ESL, GED, and Job Development. For those participants pursuing specific educational, vocational, or training goals which are not offered on-site, may be offered guidance and advocacy.
  • Parenting support, couple's counseling, and family therapy are available. Parenting support groups are designed to assist families with healthy parent-child interactions, discipline, and limit setting based on the Active Parenting model.
  • Life skills classes and individual coaching, based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy, focus on mindfulness, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.
  • Advocacy and assistance with obtaining emergency shelter, food, clothing, childcare, transportation, legal services, and medical care.
  • Psychiatric evaluation, prescription medication, education, and management.
  • Assistance in applying for SSI for participants who are eligible.
  • All groups are offered in English and Spanish. Individual services are offered in other languages including, but not limited to, English, Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Cambodian.

- from the website.