Child Welfare Services (CWS) is dedicated to the preservation of families through the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Members of a 24-hour emergency service respond to reports of abuse or neglect by providing assessment, counseling, crisis intervention and, if necessary, emergency shelter care.
The primary goal of CWS is to provide a safe and stable home for children with their parents. When this is not possible, a permanent home is sought with relatives or resource families.
In addition, CWS assists foster children, ages 16 to 21, to prepare for life as self-sufficient adults, conducts resource family approval, and facilitates the adoption of children that cannot return home. The Merced County Human Services Agency has a Main Street Youth Center that works with foster youth throughout the community to enhance the well-being and self-sufficiency of foster care youth.