A nonprofit working globally to promote children’s social and academic success
We've been doing this a long time...

...and we just keep getting better

Believe it or not, we started on the streets, where cultural anthropologist Dr. Jennifer James sought to identify the risk factors in the lives of children who turn to prostitution. Dr. James's groundbreaking work at the University of Washington in Seattle established that early sexual abuse was linked strongly to later prostitution.

So Dr. James founded Judicial Advocates for Women to sustain an avenue for research and child sexual abuse prevention. In 1981, the group produced the Talking About Touching program, a personal safety and sexual abuse prevention curriculum that’s still around today.

TAT 1981 kit

1979
Jennifer James forms Committee for Children in response to her work with victims of child sexual abuse

1981
The Talking About Touching personal safety program is launched

1985
Committee for Children begins to research school violence prevention

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Birth of the Second Step Program

Second Step kit 1989

1986 was a big year: We adopted the name Committee for Children and published the Second Step program. It expanded on concepts explored in the Talking About Touching program by teaching empathy, impulse control, problem solving, and anger management to help children avoid violent behavior.

In 2011, we released the Second Step fourth edition, which still features the social-emotional skills that made it famous and adds Skills for Learning. The design has also been updated and streamlined, with many of the teaching resources located online for easy access.

1986
The Second Step violence prevention program is launched

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Taking on Bullying

Several horrifying incidents in the 1990s drew unprecedented attention to school safety and bullying in the United States. Studies showed that the consequences of bullying were wide-ranging, including psychological harm to bystanders and declines in academic achievement.

In response, we developed a third program, the innovative Steps to Respect curriculum, designed to reduce bullying. We found that, rather than asking students to shoulder the burden of bullying prevention, all of the members of a school community can work together to create a safe and respectful school environment.

Steps to Respect 2001

1995–2005
The Second Step program receives top ratings, and research is published showing its positive effects.

1996
Committee for Children begins to research bullying prevention in schools.

2001
The Steps to Respect bullying prevention program is launched.

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Research and Accolades

Since 1995, there’s been a surge of research by academic institutions, the government, and others that has affirmed our approaches. Most recently, the largest and most rigorous U.S. study to date of a school-based bullying prevention program appeared in the fall 2011 issue of School Psychology Review. It showed that the Steps to Respect program had a significant impact on bullying and a wide range of bullying-related factors—for example, a 33 percent lower likelihood of physical bullying after the program.

We were also accorded "Exemplary" status by the federal departments of Education, Justice, and Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The White House and CASEL, a renowned institute dedicated to social-emotional learning, have also honored Committee for Children programs.

Second Step Middle School program Second Step Early Learning program Second Step K-5 program

2008
The Second Step Middle School program is revised.

2011
The Second Step Early Learning program is launched.

2011
The Second Step Kindergarten through Grade 5 programs are revised.

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An Enduring Mission

Our mission today bears a strong resemblance to our founders’ goals. Our programs are still research-based and school-driven; still routinely scrutinized, tested, and improved.

CINE Award

Today our programs are offered in 70 countries, at 25,000 schools, to more than 9 million children. Schools in nations and regions as diverse as the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, and Kurdistan use the Second Step, Steps to Respect, and Talking About Touching programs. We work with these and other partners to achieve a common vision: safe children thriving in a peaceful world.

2011

Committee for Children receives the CINE Golden Eagle Award for the Second Step Grades 4-5 music videos.

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