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Kentucky CARES is a grassroots campaign aimed at addressing risk and protective factors associated with multiple forms of youth violence  in schools, homes and communities. KY CARES seeks to empower students, parents and caregivers, educators and mentors to engage with youth to promote resiliency and reduce vulnerably and violence. 

By promoting engagement and participation with and among youth, Communities are Acting to Reach, Engage and Support (CARES).

Teacher fist bumping a student

Parents and Caregivers
Teacher reading to students

Educators and Mentors
Fire Fighter help disabled student in library

How can you show that your community CARES?


  • Everyone has a circle of influence. Who can you reach out to in your school community?


  • Connecting with others will reduce isolation and promote connectedness. How can you engage others (students, parents, and educators) in your community?


  • Communities are stronger together. How can you support others and encourage their success?

Risk and Protective Factors

What is a risk factor? Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that youth will experience or engage in violence. For example, exposure to media violence, poor neighborhood cohesion, social isolation and low educational achievement have been linked to increased likelihood of violence. 

What is a protective factor? Protective factors are characteristics that make it less likely that a youth will experience violence. Factors such as community connectedness, connection to a caring adult, and social problem solving skills are examples of protective factors. 

Research has shown that multiple forms of youth violence often share the same risk factors . It is important to note that being exposed to these risk factors does not necessarily mean that a youth will experience or engage in violence. However, we can balance and buffer risk factors and reduce vulnerability by promoting protective factors. The ability to withstand risk factors is called resilience. Promoting protective factors is a way to build resiliency. 

Prevention of youth violence is largely a matter of decreasing risk and increasing protective factors; that is, creating resilience in those at risk. Our youth are influenced by their families, their schools, their peers, and their communities. Efforts to prevent youth violence are more effective if the strategies are aimed at these influences. Students, Parents/Caregivers, and Educators/Mentors can show their communities CARE by reaching out, engaging, and supporting strategies that promote protective factors.

Additional Frameworks for Protective Factors

The Search Institute has identified 40 positive assets young people need to succeed

Education Development Center Promote/Prevent website

KY Family Thrive Starter Kit

Contact Information