Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Children, Youth and Families

Explore policies that shape the lives of children and their families

More than 4 in 10 children live in a household struggling to meet basic expenses, and 1 in 41 school-age children are homeless. Experiences of childhood poverty and trauma set a pathway for school struggles and risky health behaviors as youth and threaten the sustainability of families. These experiences are even more stark for individuals and families with marginalized identities. The Children, Youth and Families (CYF) concentration focuses on understanding how multiple systems and policies impact child and youth development and family functioning over time, as well as how supported and resilient families shape their own futures. 

The CYF concentration prepares graduates for a wide variety of leadership roles in organizations that foster the healthy development of children, youth, and families.  They engage in rigorous coursework and pursue career-building opportunities through internships, fellowships, and in-house research projects, putting them in an immediate position to take their careers to the next level.

Graduates of the CYF concentration regularly land jobs in nonprofit and for-profit organizations, government agencies, foundations, and NGOs. They are prepared for roles as data and policy analysts, managers, health workers, educators, business operations and strategic management specialists, planners, civic and social policy practictioners, and more. 

Concentration Chair: Marji Erickson Warfield, PhD’91

“We guide students toward understanding critical connections between theory, research, and lived experiences, and introduce them to social justice leaders and community-based organizations in order to further their passion for program and system change in support of all children, youth and families.”

Connection to Heller Research Institutes and Centers

Students in the concentration benefit from access to faculty in two research groups at the Heller School. The Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy researches the health, education, and housing conditions needed for healthy childhoods and identifies disparities in access to those conditions. The Center for Youth and Communities works to improve the quality of education, workforce development, and community systems in order to prepare young people for college, work, and life.

Course Requirements