The Merced College CalWORKs program serves students and their families by providing educational and career opportunities, combined with an array of high-quality support services that enable students to complete their education goals, find meaningful employment, and a successfully transition into the workforce. Through collaboration and advocacy with our college and community partners, we prepare a segment of California’s workforce by promoting the economic self-sufficiency of CalWORKs students through the attainment of a higher education.

California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) is a state funded welfare-to-work program designed to help individuals on public assistance. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is a cash aid program (welfare) for parents who meet income guidelines and have a child in the home under the age of 18.

Merced College CalWORKs program work collaboratively with Merced County Human Services Agency (H.S.A) to meet the needs of the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) students. The H.S.A. CalWORKs program provides temporary financial assistance to qualifying families and provides Medi-Cal Coverage for all recipients. There is a work requirement of 20/35/40 hours per week based on a one or two parent household.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must have a verified deprivation. Deprivations include unemployment, underemployment (less than 100 hours per month), disability or incapacity, and absent parent of a child/children under 18 years old. Household income and resources also go into the eligibility determination. (Household income and resources are also included when determining eligibility)


  1. You may make an appointment with a counselor by calling the CalWORKs office. To contact CalWORKs at Merced Campus or Los Banos Campus by phone at 209 384-6377.
  2. Phone Counseling: Counselors are also available for phone appointments. The full-service phone appointment allows students to connect with counselor by phone.
  3. zoom Counseling: Zoom Counseling is a web-based service utilizing webcam and audio. The full-service online appointment allows students to connect with a counselor through Zoom icon located on your Merced College Portal.

  1. CalWORKs Staff assist students with issues regarding school, CalWORKs, work, and offer supportive resources. The CalWORKs Student Support staff and peer mentors are available to work with you to problem solve, research a problem and act as a liaison. You can also receive assistance with understanding the rules and regulations of CalWORKs.
  2. If you have any questions regarding Student Advocacy, please contact our CalWORKs Student Support Coordinator LaDenta Smith at or (209) 384-6234. Should you have any program concerns contact CalWORKs staff.

  1. Assists students with the completion of a CalWORKs approved education plan. The counselor will also assist students with registration, personal counseling, career exploration, and time management.

  1. Work under the direction of the CalWORKs Student Support Coordinator. The Peer Mentors are Merced College students trained in helping other students. When you enter Peer Mentors help students complete their paperwork and adjust to college life.

  1. The Merced College CalWORKs program supports students in their quest for childcare. The CalWORKs program works collaboratively with us on campus, Merced College Child Development Center and off campus agency, Merced County Office of Education, A Child Care and Education Service System (A.C.C.E.S.S.) to help students meet their child’s caretaking needs for approved school and work-related activities.

  1. The Merced College Child Development Center (CDC) provides childcare services and is based on availability. The CalWORKs program receives childcare funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The students must meet CDC eligibility guidelines. To receive services students must be currently enrolled at Merced College and receiving TANF.

  1. A.C.C.E.S.S. is the program established by Merced County Office of Education to administer State and Federal supported childcare programs. The central purpose of the childcare subsidy programs (CalWORKs Stages 1, 2 & 3 and Alternative Payments/Block Grants) is to provide subsidized childcare and education services to eligible parents in order to assist them in achieving their self-sufficiency goals. Childcare is provided according to the need and eligibility of the parent. Parents choose the type of care and the provider of care. Parents may choose licensed care in centers or family childcare homes, “exempt” care by eligible relatives, and care that includes religious instruction (in Federally funded programs only). Referrals for this program are received by Merced County Human Services.

  1. Merced County Human Services Agency (H.S.A) pays for books for students who have signed a Welfare-to-Work plan with Merced County Welfare Department. This is based on funding available.

  1. To help students stay on track with their educational plans and reach their goals H.S.A. requires that students complete monthly activity forms and submit them to CSSS. These records show that students are attending classes and meeting their 20/35/40 hours per week requirements.


Los Banos Campus

Building A, Student Services

Merced Main Campus

Lesher Student Service Building, 3rd Floor, Office 304
3600 M Street
Merced, CA 95348

Los Banos CalWORKs Staff