CYFAR: Children, Youth, and Families At Risk

CYFAR Program Overview

IMG_2915 Through an annual Congressional appropriation for the National Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Program, CSREES 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. State and local public and private organizations have contributed cash and in-kind resources that match or exceed the federal appropriation.

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.

West Virginia Sustainable Community Project

The overarching aim of West Virginia’s Sustainable Communities Project is to improve after school programs serving at-risk youth and families through enhancing educational curriculum, developing linkages to support families, and providing technical assistance and training for after school staff.

The project serves 9 sites located in 3 West Virginia counties that have a large number of children who live in poverty. Children at these sites may be academically challenged, more likely to drop out of school or engage in delinquent behavior, or lack strong positive role models. Indeed, research has indicated that coming from poverty is one of the factors that puts students most at risk in an academic setting. The project seeks to improve the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of high risk school-age youth while teaching them the skills necessary for fulfilling contributing lives.