First 5 Merced County - We're Glad You're Here

For nearly a decade, First 5 Merced County and its numerous community partners, have been enhancing the lives of our youngest children so they can succeed in school…and thrive in life.

Because nothing matters more.

Research has thoroughly confirmed it – a child’s brain develops most dramatically during the earliest years of life. And so too, the greatest opportunities we have to support our kids’ future success reside in these first years, the first 5 years.

There is now unprecedented attention to early childhood health and development throughout California and the nation.

And, we are proud to be part of the movement that places children where they belong, at the very top of our priority list.

First 5 Merced County provides leadership, coordination, advocacy, and funding to support a wide range of local programs. From Planada to Los Banos and Stevinson, and Delhi to Merced — and in all the diverse communities throughout the county—our efforts have a singular goal: To ensure that our kids have the best foundation for success we can possibly provide.

That’s why we are here, doing what we’re doing. Working diligently, together with our many community partners, united by a commitment to our children.

News and Upcoming Events

Early Education Institute registration is open!
    This event is open for anyone who works with young children (Family Child Care Providers, State Preschool staff, Private Center staff, Center Directors, Head Start and Early Head Start) and parents.
    Trainings are available throughout the week at different times and locations. Training sessions will be limited to 35 participants, on a first-come-first serve basis. Please make sure to register separately for each day.
    You will know you have successfully registered when you receive an email confirmation from the EEI Committee. Specific training location information will be emailed to you.
    Remember to sign up for the Kick-off Breakfast or Dinner.


For questions or concerns, please contact:
MCOE Early Education Department: (209)381-6793
First 5 Merced County: (209)385-7337
Child Development Training Consortium: (209)548-5758

First 5 Merced County Commission Meeting! The First 5 Commission meets regularly on the second Monday of each month (except for public holidays). The next meeting will be held on the regular scheduled date: Monday, June 13, 2016 , at 5:30 p.m. at the First 5 Merced County Office. 676 Loughborough Drive, Merced, CA 95348.



A child enjoying the free art activities at the “Plug-In to the Power of Preschool” event, Los Banos, October 2007.

Contributions To Our Community

While much remains to be done and new challenges arise almost daily, we are proud of our accomplishments to date.

  • Since our inception, First 5 Merced County has provided over $64 million in funding to support local Merced County programs and services. Because First 5 funds cannot be used to replace other existing funding streams, First 5 Merced County supports only critical services for which no other public funds exist. Through the strengths of our community partners, literally thousands of Merced County children and families have been served. In just the last three years (2007/08 - 2009/10), services have been provided to:
    • 34, 698 children (birth – 5 years) 28,236 parents/expectant parents
    • 5,111 providers/caregivers of children 0 - 5 years.
    Funding has been provided to 83 different agencies (116 programs) and organizations to support services in nearly every community throughout the county. First 5 Merced County has minimized costs to administer First 5 funds. First 5 Merced County has maximized funds going into the community, while creating a minimal reserve and assuring stability of funding over time.
  • Committed, stable leadership has been provided by our 9-member Commission, representing the diverse needs in our communities.



Organizations and Events First 5 Helps Sponsor and Partnerships

Merced Art Hop

MCOE - 12th Annual Lights On After School Festival

United Way of Merced County - Pedal Merced Family Bike Festival

Atwater Relay for Life

Knights of Columbus - Livingston Kite Festival

Central California Child Development Services - Easter Seals Training Modules

Fruitland Christian Preschool - 2nd Annual Pumpkin Patch Festival

Down Syndrome Assoc. of Central CA - Annual "Five and Under Reception"

Livingston Medical Group - 2014 Community Health Fair

Building Young Leaders - Youth Performs The Empty Pot, a Tale of Integrity & Courage

United Way of Merced County - Building Healthy Communities

City of Merced - Swimming Lessons

Merced County Spring Fair - Little Hands for Ag

Merced County Fair - MC Fair to Support DO 4 and CBOR

Merced County Parks and Recreation - Movie at the Park - Dos Palos

Dos Palos Oro Loma Jt. Unified School District - Activities at the Movie at the Park Dos Palos

Save Our Youth the Next Generations - SOY Merced Building Human Assets Project



County Holidays