At-Risk Child and Youth Care Minor


The At-Risk Child & Youth Care 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. This minor assists students who 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. Full details of program requirements are available in the UWL course catalog and other tabs on this page. CYC-related courses available next semester can be found on the CYC Minor Checksheet.


Students who complete the CYC 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

Application Process & Requirements

Each student must first be accepted for admission to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The CYC minor cannot be added automatically--students must first take CYC 301 for permission to enroll in the minor. Please review the requirements below for the detailed pre-requisites and process for the At-Risk CYC Minor.

Step 1: Take PSY 212: Lifespan Development (or its equivalent transfer course) and earn a grade of B or higher. This is a pre-requisite for CYC 301: Overview of Child and Youth Care. You will be able to register for CYC 301 in the next semester if you are currently in PSY 212, but will automatically be dropped from enrollment if your final grade in WINGS is a B/C or lower at the end of the semester.

Step 2: Take CYC 301: Overview of Child and Youth Care and earn a grade of C or better.

Step 3: You will receive detailed advising information about the CYC Minor while taking CYC 301 so you can decide if it is the right program for your career goals. Once you have completed CYC 301 with a grade of C or better, you can use the online program declaration to add the CYC Minor.

Step 4: Complete the At-Risk Child and Youth Care Minor requirements. Full curriculum is available in the course catalog.

Questions? Contact the minor coordinator, Lisa Caya at

CYC Internships (CYC 450)

Students in the CYC Minor are required to complete an internship related in some way to at-risk youth populations. You can find more detailed information about the process on the Psychology Department's Internships page at

Below are some popular internship sites for CYC Minors:

  • Coulee Children's Center
  • YMCA
  • Elementary/Middle School/High School guidance offices
  • Summer Camps for at-risk youth
  • Gundersen Lutheran Child Life
  • The Parenting Place

CYC Program Coordinator

Lisa Caya  Profile of Lisa Caya

Teaching Professor
331C Graff Main Hall

CYC-Affiliated PSY Faculty

James Puckett  Profile of James Puckett

Teaching Assistant Professor
341N Graff Main Hall

Jason Sumontha  Profile of Jason Sumontha  Meet with me  Office hours

Assistant Professor
331E Graff Main Hall

Specialty areas:

Developmental and Community Psychology; sexual orientation and gender diversity; parenting; socialization; child development; LGBTQ+ families; family processes; resilience

What are some places I can get more information about work with at-risk children and youth?