In 1902 a group of settlement workers active in the Association of Neighborhood Workers organized the Child Labor Committee to campaign for protective legislation in New York. With the help of Florence Kelley and Jane Addams, the CLC evolved into the National Child Labor Committee in 1904.



Social workers, businessmen, reformers, and labor activists all supported the NCLC which soon launched campaigns against child labor in coal mines and glass works.  However these wide-ranging supporters did not necessarily agree on political strategies. Many believed that child labor was a national problem that required a national solution -- federal legislation restricting child labor.

Others thought individual state legislation had a better chance of passing constitutional muster. These differences were overcome, however, when the NCLC endorsed a campaign in favor of establishing a federal Children's Bureau to investigate child labor and its ramifications.



The NCLC was probably most effective when it came to public relations -- there was no better advocate for exploited young workers and no better source for dramatic images and compelling stories than the NCLC.    MORE