Merced County Office of Education

How can I apply for my child

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​Thank you for your interest in the Merced County Office of Education, Head Start program. ​​You may apply for enrollment in any of our Head Start programs year round.

To complete an application, the following steps are needed:

New Children who are in a family who has never participated in our program before.

  1. Complete Online Application for new children wishing to apply to our program.
  2. Upload eligibility documents
  3. Receive a follow up call from our staff person who will provide you with the next steps

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Returning Children (NOT for currently enrolled children) 

who have previously been enrolled or has a legal guardian who has been enrolled

  1. Complete an interest survey 
  2. Upload eligibility documents
  3. ​Receive a follow up call from our staff person who will provide you with the next steps

Pregnant Women 

  1. Complete an interest survey 
  2. Upload eligibility documents
  3. ​Receive a follow up call from our staff person who will provide you with the next steps

Program Options

Pregnant women and families with children age’s birth to five interested in enrolling their child in a high quality early education program may quality for services with Head Start. Head stars promotes early math, language, and literacy learning as well as supports emotional, social and physical well-being to ensure children and families have the knowledge and skills to be successful in school and life. 

Merced County Office of Education, Head Start offers the following programs in Merced County:

Program                                     Population Served                                 Program Options

Head Start:

​​​​​​Children ages 3-5 years old                               Center-based

​​​​​​Children ages 3-5 years old                               Home-based

Early Head Start:

Children Ages 0-3 years old​​​​​​                              Center-based

Children Ages 0-3 years old​​​​​​                              Home-based​

Pregnant Women                                               Home-based

Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership:

Children ages 2 years old                                Merced College CDC Partnership

Children ages 0-48 months                               Family Child Care Home

Age Eligibility: 
  • Head Start: your child must turn 3 years old and must not turn 5 years old by September 1st
  • Early Head Start: from birth and not yet 3 years old by September 1st
  • Early Head Start Child Care Partnership, Family Child Care Home: from birth to 48 months

Income Eligibility:
  • Income for the most recent 12 month period or last calendar year (Jan-Dec of the previous year). ​Prior year 1040 tax forms, prior year W2's for all employers, unemployment benefits, disability benefits etc.  
  • automatically eligible families include:
    • ​Income of 100% or less of the Federal Income Guidelines for Head Start
    • Current foster child (must provide foster care agreement or letter from assigned Social Worker indicating in foster care services)
    • Currently homeless as defined by McKinney-Vento​​ Homeless Assitance Act​
    • A member in the household is currently receiving Supplemental Security income (must provide SSI income letter)
In order to complete your online application you must upload the following documents:
  • ​Proof of income
  • Proof of Age
  • Applicant Child's Immunization Record (see list for preschool immunizations)
  • Current IEP/IFSP, if applicable
  • If applying for Full Day services attach a training/school verification or medical respite. If you are currently working, your employer will receive the employer verification directly from the Family Services staff member.
If you are unable to upload eligibility documents, please mail copies to:
MCOE, Head Start:
Attn: FSSM, Online Application
1840 Wardrobe Ave
Merced, CA 95341
Go directly to the ELIGIBILITY DOCUMENTS​ page to submit your forms online
Contact one of our centers directly by viewing our center locations​

​For more information, please call 209-381-5170. A secretary will help you identify the Head Start closest to you, and will get you in touch with a Family Support Services staff member who will help you identify the type of program option that will best meet the needs of your family. The Family Support Services staff member will guide you through the application process. 

Head Start Program
​​1840 Wardrobe Ave
Merced, CA 95341
(209) 381-5170