Community and Youth Collaborative Institute (CAYCI)

Mission & Vision

group of students


The Community and Youth Collaborative Institute (CAYCI) seeks to improve the conditions in which youth learn and play so that all young people have the chance at a healthy, happy life.


We work towards this mission by engaging in primary research & resource development; program administration; workforce preparation, and consultation & evaluation.

Through these efforts, we impact many of the key social settings in which youth development occurs, including families, schools, youth sport & other out-of-school time programs, and communities. As part of the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University (OSU), we also help to foster the growth of students and professionals interested in positive youth development, school social work, youth sport and recreation, and research.


CAYCI’s Impact & Contributions

Leadership & Innovation

Gene Smith with Dawn

CAYCI Leadership

Director, Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher, has published over 70 journal articles and 23 book chapters and was recently recognized as a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW). She is the first in the OSU CSW to receive this honor.

Research & Resource Development

Group of people taking a survey on their laptops

Peer-reviewed Research

Foremost, CAYCI prioritizes the generation of new knowledge. As such, 41 peer-reviewed articles have been published in journals such as Child & Adolescent Social Work, Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, Journal of Sport Management, Research on Social Work Practice, Children and Youth Social Services Review, Children & Schools, Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, School Mental Health, and the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.


Represent research conducted in school settings


Examine youth sport


Explore innovations in afterschool or positive youth development programs


Measurement papers


Focus on community and family systems

Circle of laptops

Editorials and Book Chapters

9 editor or editorial board reviewed articles have been published in journals such as Child & Adolescent Social Work, The Prevention Researcher, The Community Psychologist, and Children & Schools. Additionally, 15 chapters have been written in books such as School Social Work: Practice, Policy, and Research (9th edition), The Art of Becoming Indispensable: What School Social Workers Need to Know in their First Three Years of Practice, Handbook of School Mental Health, The School Services Sourcebook: A Guide for School-Based Professionals, and the Encyclopedia of Adolescence.

two people standing in front of a presentation board

Conferences and Workshops

Dissemination of research and evidence-based practices at conferences, as well as in workshops for professionals working in the field, is an ongoing priority for CAYCI. A total of 164 presentations have been done at international:










Local venues

Workforce Preparation

Photo of two graduates

Teaching & Learning (internships, theses, dissertations, evaluation projects)

Building the capacity of students is a priority at CAYCI. Each year we engage over 260 OSU students across 14 different units in teaching/learning, research, and outreach activities in the OSU LiFEsports Initiative and through our school, afterschool, and community partners. In the past 16 years:


Students have completed theses or capstone projects


Completed dissertations affiliated with CAYCI work


Completed field internships at one of our partner sites

Photo of faculty on OSU football field

Development of Faculty & Instructors

Eight past students who worked in CAYCI hold university faculty positions, mostly at Research 1 Institutions such as The Ohio State University, The University of South Carolina, Auburn University, State University of New York-Buffalo, and the University of Kansas. Several other students now serve as lecturers in the College of Social Work at OSU.

Adulting interacting and working with children

Leaders of Social Work Practice

We also have many graduates who are employed in youth service settings, such as with KIPP Schools (Oxford and Columbus), Franklinton High School, Girls On The Run, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Schools Bishop Watterson, Dublin City Schools, Columbus City Schools), Private practice, Community-based agencies (Choices), Regional Educational Service Centers, and in local non-profits (After-School All-Stars, Directions for Youth and Families, etc).

Teacher collaborating with students

Team-based Learning and Interprofessional Collaboration

Collaboration is central to the work of CAYCI, as is student development and elevating the youth voice. Authorship on peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, presentations, and various reports is one way to examine the depth of engagement of others in CAYCI work. In the last 16 years:


Faculty affiliates in other college or universities


Community partners and/or university staff


Students have been co-authors on CAYCI-related products

Program Administration

groups of kids in indoor gym learning about playing tennis

Grants and Project Management

In the past 16 years, CAYCI has secured over 7 million in external funding from 21 different entities to support research, program design and implementation, evaluation, and capacity-building efforts. Please note other dollars have been generated internal to the university but are not included here (for instance, in-kind supports from Athletics, CSW, Recreational Sports, and Outreach & Engagement to support OSU LiFEsports).

Consultation & Evaluation

Groups of people at tables taking a survey on their laptops

Community Outreach & Engagement

CAYCI has published multiple products that synthesize evaluation findings and/or provide guidance for others related to implementation processes. Between 2015-2021, 16 technical assistance guides and monographs have been written, all to support the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices in the field. Further, 33 evaluations reports were produced that document barriers, facilitators, innovations, and outcomes resulting from various projects focused on positive youth development, school improvement, school-family-community partnerships, afterschool programming, and youth sport.

Who We Are & What We Do

CAYCI is a strong office in the College of Social Work at OSU. Priorities in the office aspire to contribute to the generation of new knowledge and innovations, as well as make a difference in the lives of the youth, families, and stakeholders involved in various social institutions. We also value fun and engagement, prioritize relationships and belonging, and expect rigor and excellence. As a learning organization, we regularly “take stock” in lessons learned and aim to continuously improve our work and impact. In the end, we are always exploring ways we can contribute to improving the conditions in which youth learn and play. For more information on CAYCI progress and next steps, please contact us!