Discover Our Story
of Action and Influence

History

Committee for Children has a longstanding history with educators, researchers, and subject matter experts of providing children with a foundation for life. As an organization, we champion the well-being and social success of children in and out of the classroom and continue to make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

Our Origins

Founded in 1979, our organization is rooted in the work of the cultural anthropologists Dr. Jennifer James and Dr. Debra Boyer. Their work established a link between sexual abuse in childhood and later sex trafficking and led to the creation of our groundbreaking Talking About Touching program.

Committee for Children is formed to help victims of child sexual abuse.

1980s

A Grassroots Effort

In the early eighties, our organization consisted of a few employees and high-profile community volunteers who spearheaded grassroots efforts to secure funding and build our mission. This small group of social workers and educators worked largely on a local level, but that all changed when Nashville Public Schools requested our program. Within a year, we were launched into the national spotlight, and soon we released our flagship curriculum, the Second Step program.

Our Talking About Touching program is released.

Our mission gains national attention with an appearance on The Today Show.

The organization begins exploring primary abuse prevention by developing the first edition of the Second Step program.

1990s

A Surge of Interest

Marked by a sizable increase in international awareness, federal education policy, and access to funding, the nineties brought many opportunities to expand our mission. As knowledge of social-emotional learning (SEL) grew, so did our reach. By the end of the decade our programs were implemented by large school districts, such as LA Unified, and spanned the country. Now we reached schools in all 50 states as well as Canada, Norway, and Germany. As our team continued to expand, this surge in interest was just the beginning of the spread of our mission.

Interest in SEL rises in response to Daniel Goleman’s newly published book, Emotional Intelligence.

Research into bullying prevention is launched in response to school violence.

The White House names our curriculum as a Model Program in the Annual Report of School Safety.

2000s

Growing Our Mission

Throughout the 2000s our team and mission continued to thrive as our classroom reach expanded. Dedicated to evolving our program to reach even more students, we revised our curriculum to include convenient online training that helps educators pick up the program and easily teach. We continued to improve the educator experience with the creation of our outreach team, which provides deeper communication and implementation support directly to educators.

The U.S. Department of Education names our curriculum a Safe & Drug Free Schools exemplary program.

We respond to a need for bullying prevention in schools with the launch of the Steps to Respect program.

CASEL awards high marks to our curriculum.

2010s

Back to Our Roots

In recent years, we’ve returned to our roots with a renewed focus on our policy and advocacy efforts and an increased push for innovation. We continue to fulfill the needs of educators by creating tools that support implementation and expand to new content areas while constantly rethinking and improving our existing programs to better serve our clients and mission. As we move toward the next decade, we continue to widen our reach—looking into opportunities to provide content for out-of-school time, older students, and adults.

The Second Step SEL Program is revised to set the groundwork for a group of programs that can be taught together: the Second Step Suite.

With the foundation to bullying prevention, SEL, in place, we created an add-on unit—the Second Step Bullying Prevention Unit.

The Second Step Child Protection Unit is added to the Second Step Suite.

The new Second Step Middle School Program launches—bringing technology and the latest research together to engage students.

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