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Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR)

The Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Grant Program allocates funding provided by congressional appropriation to Land-grant university Cooperative Extension for comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families. The CYFAR mission is to provide resources to Land-Grant University System and Cooperative Extension Systems so that, in collaboration with other organizations, they can develop and deliver educational programs that equip at-risk youth with the skills they need to lead positive, productive, contributing lives. 

The CYFAR Program is based on tools and resources that enhance and support positive development for at-risk children, youth and families and on the human ecological principle of working across the lifespan in the context of the family and community.


Since 1991, CYFAR has supported programs in more than 2,400 communities in all states and territories. State and local public and private organizations have contributed cash and in-kind resources that match or exceed the federal appropriation. CYFAR supports comprehensive, intensive, community-based programs developed with active citizen participation. CYFAR promotes positive child, youth and family development by supporting healthy environments and providing opportunities for learning and leadership by youth and adults in their communities.

American children and families are at substantial risk for negative outcomes such as infant mortality, undernourishment, child abuse and neglect, poor health, low workforce skills and much more. When basic needs of a large proportion of children, youth, and families are not being met, the workforce, the economy, the social structure, education, justice, and democracy are all weakened.


The vision of the Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Grant Program is a nation of strong, resilient families and communities in which children and youth lead positive, secure, and happy lives while developing the skills, knowledge, and competencies necessary for fulfilling, contributing adult lives.

To assure that critical needs of youth 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 by forming lasting partnerships to achieve greater outcomes and 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 deliver essential technological skills for youth and adults in at-risk environments.

The CYFAR Program integrates resources of the Land-Grant University System to develop and deliver educational programs that equip limited-resource youth and families who are at risk for not meeting basic human needs to lead positive, productive, and contributing lives.

The CYFAR program is committed to the vision that:

  1. Babies will be born healthy, and young children will have their basic physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs met.
  2. School-age youth and teens will demonstrate knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for fulfilling, contributing lives.
  3. Parents will take primary responsibility for meeting their children's physical, social, emotional, and intellectual needs and provide moral guidance and direction.
  4. Families will promote positive, productive, and contributing lives for all family members.
  5. Communities will provide safe, secure environments for families with children.
Program type
Grant Program
Policy and Guidelines
CYFAR Guiding Principles (pdf - 115.37 KB)
CYFAR Philosophy - 2017 Update (pdf - 357.35 KB)

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