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National Committee for Children and Youth

Program, Programs, Organizational Structure, History

The National Committee for Children and Youth (NCCY) is a private association that was established in 1960 as a part of President Eisenhower's White House Conference on Children and Youth. It was thus part of a larger initiative intended to improve the federal, state, and local services provided to the nation's children.

The committee's original mandate was fivefold. It was to implement the findings of the White House conference, to achieve greater coordination among the various programs and associations that sought to serve the needs of children and youth, to improve and speed the flow of useful information among interested organizations and agencies, to provide guidance in the planning of activities aimed toward improving children's services, and to identify new problems and issues as they arose in the provision of services to children.


Eisenhower's White House conference established the Council of National Organizations for Children and Youth, a national coordinating council serving some 400 individual youth and children's service providers, and state-based Committees for Children and Youth. The NCCY, as a committee within the national council, functions as an information clearinghouse and consultation service for these member organizations, acting as a liaison between federal agencies and local, regional, and state-based child-service providers. In addition, it plays an important role in reaching out to the community at large and educating the public about child-service goals and issues.

The NCCY fulfills its mission through its publications division. It produces a quarterly newsletter, distributed to service providers and individuals, which recounts the accomplishments and ongoing projects of the various service agencies at all levels of government. It also sponsors conferences that bring together professionals in the field of child services. It has also produced reports, books, and research articles, which are used to train educators, social workers, and other professional child-service providers.


A central concern of the NCCY since its inception has been to improve literacy among the nation's youth. One important project, aimed at young people in their teens, has been the establishment of remedial reading programs, which seek to improve reading skills in children who have been passed along through the school system without acquiring the ability to read at a basic level of competency. This type of project is typical of the work of the NCCY, involving as it does a collaboration between a number of independent agencies and individuals, such as the U.S. Department of Labor's Manpower Administration, local schools, and social workers. However, the NCCY does not maintain long-term control over such projects. As an initiative proves itself to be successful, the NCCY finds an appropriate agency to take over the service, thus freeing itself to explore new programs and initiatives.

Organizational Structure

The NCCY is a division within the Council of National Organizations for Children and Youth, and as such it serves the larger agenda of its parent agency. It also works closely with the National Council of State Committees for Children and Youth, each of which elects five of its members to three-year terms of service on the NCCY. The bylaws of the committee provide that at least two members must be under the age of twenty-five, to make certain that the concerns of the committee's target population are understood and adequately addressed.


The NCCY was born out of President Eisenhower's 1960 educational initiative, the 1960 Golden Anniversary White House Conference on Children and Youth. The original conference was part of a long tradition in which, at the start of each decade since 1909, the sitting president would call together a wide range of professionals, from educators to physicians, who served the needs of the nation's children and youth. The 1960 conference attracted more than 7,000 participants, drawn from every state and territory in the United States. During the course of the conference, it was determined that a permanent committee should be established to provide continuity, collaboration, and focus for the widely disparate individuals, organizations, and government agencies that shared an interest in child services.

At the 1970 White House Conference, it was decided that each state should establish its own Committee on Children and Youth, and the NCCY's role changed from direct involvement in developing projects to a more advisory and facilitative function. It assumed the responsibility of providing national leadership and serving as an informational clearing-house through which the local initiatives could be communicated to interested parties, agencies, and committees elsewhere in the country.


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