Children, Youth, and Families at Risk

Through an annual Congressional appropriation for the National Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program, NIFA allocates funding to land-grant university extension services for community-based programs for at-risk children and their families. Since 1991, CYFAR has supported programs in more than 600 communities in all states and territories. 

The CYFAR Program is based on research on effective programs for at-risk youth and families and on the human ecological principle of working across the lifespan in the context of the family and community. To assure that critical needs of children and families are met, CYFAR supports comprehensive, intensive, community-based programs developed with active citizen participation in all phases. CYFAR promotes building resiliency and protective factors in youth, families, and communities.

CYFAR supports collaboration–forming lasting partnerships to achieve greater outcomes and to provide a support base for sustaining programs for those at risk. CYFAR also promotes the use of technology to improve programs, provide efficient access to educational resources, and provide essential technological skills for youth and adults in at-risk environments.

Recent CYFAR projects in Indiana have focused on afterschool 4-H clubs in urban areas of Indiana. First generation 4-H members learn about 4-H and then choose topics of interest to them related to the overall goal of the current CYFAR award–from technology and robotics or healthy living and sports.

Current CYFAR project - 4-H PALS

A large population of youth in greater Lafayette, Indiana lack connection to their community and opportunities for positive engagement outside of the classroom. Over 60% of students in Lafayette receive free or reduced lunch and 50% of the students come from minority populations. Utilizing funds from the USDA-NIFA funded Children, Youth and Families at Risk grant, Indiana 4-H partnered with a long-standing summer enrichment program focused on positive youth development. The Purdue Athletic Life Success (PALS) program and Tippecanoe County 4-H program partnered to establish two afterschool 4-H clubs targeting underserved audiences. These 4-H clubs incorporate healthy living and pillars of character in a safe, inclusive afterschool environment.