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Child Care & After-School Programs

Extension CARES...For America's Children and Youth

The lack of affordable, accessible, and high-quality child care, school-age care, and teen programs has a negative effect on current and future educational attainment and employment for parents and children, the nation's economy and family income, and physical and emotional environments in which people live.

NIFA provides resources and program leadership to the Cooperative Extension System (CES) that enhances a nationwide response to challenges facing American children, youth, and families. CES, through the “Extension ‘CARES'...For America's Children and Youth National Initiative,” is focusing new and existing resources in working toward a vision that all children and youth are in safe, healthy, caring, and enriching environments when away from their parents.


Improve early childhood, school-age, and teen programs by linking the teaching, research, education, technology, and 4-H youth development expertise of USDA with the 105 land-grant universities and the county and regional extension offices in local communities across America.

Overall Goal:

Increase the quality, affordability, accessibility, availability, and sustainability of child care, school-age care, and teen out-of-school programs through federal, state, and local partnerships that tap the expertise and assets of local communities.

The Sub-goals Include:

  • Improve program staff and home-based providers' ability to offer high-quality care, education, and developmental experiences for children and youth.
  • Improve the quality of child care, school-age care, and teen out-of-school settings.
  • Improve families' abilities to better support their children in out-of-home programs.
  • Improve community and state supports for programs.


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