CalWORKs Student Support Services (CSSS) collaborates with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, Merced County Human Services Agency, and Merced County Department of Workforce Investment. CSSS assists students participating in CalWORKs, and Department of Workforce Investment, in their pursuit of education that leads to self-sufficiency.

Counseling Appointments:

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 Due to COVID-19, all in-person counseling appointments have been moved to phone or Zoom.

Phone Counseling:

Counselors are also available for phone appointments.  The full service phone appointment allows students to connect with counselor by phone.

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.

Zoom Counseling:

Zoom Counseling is a web-based services 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.

You must first make an appointment with a counselor by call the CalWORKs Office.  To contact CalWORKs at Merced Campus or  Los Banos Campus by phone at 209 384-6377

Student Advocacy

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.

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.

Academic Counselor

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.

Peer Mentors

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 paper work and adjust to college life.

Child Care

The Merced College CalWORKs program supports students in their quest for child care. The CalWORKs program work collaboratively with our 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.

Merced College Child Development Center

The Merced College Child Development Center (CDC) provides child care services and is based on availability. The CalWORKs program receives child care 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.


A.C.C.E.S.S. is the program established by Merced County Office of Education to administer State and Federal supported child care programs. The central purpose of the child care subsidy programs (CalWORKs Stages 1, 2 & 3 and Alternative Payments/Block Grants) is to provide subsidized child care and education services to eligible parents in order to assist them in achieving their self-sufficiency goals. Child care 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 child care 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.

Book Services

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.

Monthly Activity Record

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.