Important Changes Due to the COVID-19 Virus

  • During this time, the Department of Human Services is encouraging customers to utilize online self-service options. We have shortened our hours as a result of Kern County moving to an essential-staffing only model due to the quickly changing situation related to the COVID-19 virus. 
  • While our office will be closed to the public, we will continue to provide restricted in-person homeless services only between the hours of 7:30 AM and 1:00 PM. Our main lobby located at 100 E. California Avenue, Bakersfield, will conduct in-office interviews with our homeless clients by telephone utilizing the recently installed telephones in the lobby interview booths.
  • Due to these shortened hours and social distancing regulations, we are encouraging our clients to make use of our online options. Please go to and download the mobile app to apply for and keep track of your benefits, services, and application and redetermination forms. Applications for CalFresh may be made by phone at (661) 631-6062 and applications for Medi-Cal benefits can be made by calling 1-800-300-1506.
  • If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call the Child Abuse Hotline at (661) 631-6011 (Countywide) or (760) 375-6049 in Ridgecrest. Reports of child abuse can be made at any time.
  • Also, due to our limited service hours, we are encouraging clients to contact the EBT Customer Service line toll free at 1-877-328-9677 to report a lost, stolen, or damaged card, as well as to request a card replacement by mail.
  • Information regarding services will also be available by phone at (661) 631-6000. We want to reiterate, all critical services will be provided during our shortened hours.

Thank you for understanding.


Dena Murphy

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Director, Kern County Department of Human ServicesDena Murphy

Dena Murphy has 25 years of administrative experience with the Department of Human Services where she now serves as Director.   She oversees in excess of a $480 million budget and more than 1765 employees who provide Child Protective Services, Family Reunification, Foster Care, Adoptions, Family Stabilization, CalWORKs, Cal-Learn and other social services.  Before becoming Director, she served as Chief Deputy Director (6 years) and as Assistant Director (7 years).  In her early assignment with the Department, she was the CalWORKs Development Director leading design and implementation of Welfare Reform for Kern.  Throughout her career, Ms. Murphy has led collaborative efforts forming numerous partnerships with businesses, non-profit groups, schools, faith-based organizations and others to provide vital and innovative services to the vulnerable and our community.

Prior to her employment with Kern, Ms. Murphy spent 13 years in private sector appointments which included: managing operations in the western United States for Bowman Distribution (a fortune 500 company), manager for the Dayton-Hudson Corporation and Purchasing for Kern Radiology.   She will tell you her call to public service was to facilitate individuals having the dignity of a job.  Once she worked with the people, it opened opportunities for her to effect additional, meaningful change Department wide and County wide.