Child/Youth Care Program (CYC)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities
Coordinator: Lisa Caya
331C Graff Main Hall; 608.785.6895

The at-risk child and youth care (CYC) minor is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide students with knowledge and skills necessary to promote the well being of all children and adolescents. Special attention is given to vulnerable/at-risk populations within the context of the family, the community, and the life span. The minor assists students who upon graduation may work within a wide variety of settings including: early child care and education, community-based and youth development programs, parent education and family support, school based programs, community mental health, group homes, residential centers, day and residential treatment, early intervention, home-based care and treatment, psychiatric centers, rehabilitation programs, pediatric health care, and juvenile justice programs.

Students who complete the minor are expected to be able to:

  • Identify the role of individual and family factors associated with at-risk children
  • Differentiate typical from atypical human development
  • Apply theories, concepts and research findings to promote child well-being
  • Identify the purpose and structure of community and government systems in promoting and advocating for child well-being

The following is the department's faculty and staff as of the publication date of this catalog. This list will not be updated again until the next catalog is published in July.

Program Coordinator

Lisa Caya, Psychology



Linda Dickmeyer, Communication Studies

Guy Herling, CSH

Britta Osborne, CASSH

Marcie Wycoff-Horn, SOE

Peter Marina, Sociology and Criminal Justice


CYC 301 Cr.3

Overview of Child and Youth Care

As the overview course in the child and youth care minor, the class addresses current issues in the field of child and youth intervention. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, students will explore factors that place children and youth at risk. The class also provides a preliminary investigation of systems theory, program design, interventions, and advocacy. Prerequisite: grade of "B" or better in PSY 212. Offered Annually.

CYC 310 Cr.3

Social Policy for Children and Families

This course is designed to examine current and proposed child and family policies. Specifically, the goals of the course are to enhance students' understanding of (a) the basics of child and family development and the complex nature of childhood risk and resilience; (b) current policies and safety net programs, particularly in the areas of child protection and family strengthening, their evolution over time, and their strengths and weaknesses; (c) recent reform efforts and new directions in policy; and (d) building community connections. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in CYC 301; PSY 212. Offered Annually.

CYC 411 Cr.3

Family Systems Theory

This course focuses on the study of the family as a system. Students will examine developmental stages, life cycle patterns, and family interactions using a systems framework. The application of family systems theory to at-risk families will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSY 212. Offered Annually.

CYC 495 Cr.3

Capstone in Child Youth Care

This course is designed to review and unify basic concepts regarding the care of children and youth, particularly those considered "at-risk." Particular emphasis will be on the multi-level factors that impact the well being of children and youth, ethics and legal issues, diversity, and program assessment. A systems approach for understanding the vulnerable or at-risk youth will provide a broad framework and the course will be taught from a problem-based learning perspective. Prerequisite: grade of "C" or better in CYC 301; junior standing; minimum of 18 credits of the CYC minor course work completed. Offered Annually.