At-Risk Child & Youth Care program

Undergrad minor

Do you want to help improve the lives of young people?

Prepare for a career that supports the growth and development of at-risk youth with a minor in At-Risk Child and Youth Care (CYC). 

UW-La Crosse's At-Risk Child and Youth Care (CYC) minor is a multidisciplinary program that provides students with knowledge and skills to promote the well being of all children and adolescents.The program focuses on vulnerable/at-risk populations within the context of the family, the community, and the life span.

Jobs working with at-risk-youth

Specific careers that many students obtain after acceptance and completion of related graduate programs include: School psychology; school guidance; social work; mental health counseling; child life, speech/language therapist; physical therapy; and occupational therapy.

The minor assists students who may go on to work within a wide variety of settings. Some areas require an advanced degree.

Work settings

  • 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
  • Juvenile justice programs

What distinguishes the At-Risk-Child and Youth Care Program?

Gain internship experience

All students in program are required to complete a three-credit, 120-hour internship prior to completion of the minor. Internships are related in some way to at-risk youth populations and offer practical experiences in the field. Examples of internship locations include school guidance counselor offices, YMCAs, children's centers and summer camps for at-risk youth.

Engage in the community

Students engage in an extensive service learning experience in the community in the Child and Youth Care Capstone class as a program requirement.

Get excellent preparation for graduate school

Students in the minor are well prepared for graduate work. The program has a high acceptance rate into graduate programs in related fields.

Sample courses

CYC 301 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 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 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.