When Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) was founded in 1944, many New York families were separated by World War II. Fathers were serving overseas and mothers were working outside the home in unprecedented numbers. As a result, children were being left home alone during the day or were coming home from school to empty apartments or to dangerous informal care. Children’s programs were unavailable in most neighborhoods and many that did exist were poorly funded, had exclusionary admission policies, or lacked adequate supervision and standards of care.
Courageous Leaders for Children
A group of New Yorkers met to discuss these issues and their larger concerns for the well-being of the city’s children. Their advocacy helped secure state funding for the Mayor’s Committee on the Wartime Care for Children and their need to do more sparked the founding of CCC as a privately funded committee that could act as a “courageous leader” and watchdog for New York’s children for years to come.
The founders sought fellow members who would act as individuals and not representatives of political or special interest groups, and staff experts who could conduct research and analysis to inform their advocacy. Among these founders, early members and staff of CCC were First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, philanthropists Adele Rosenwald Levy and Mary Lasker, Dr. Kenneth Clark, Dr. Benjamin Spock, New York City Council Member Stanley M. Isaacs, Judge Justine Wise Polier, Trude Lash, and Alfred Kahn.
A Lasting Imprint
And so CCC began and continues today—as an independent child advocacy organization with a small expert staff working hand-in-hand with committed and informed volunteers. A team that has spent the last 72 years winning critical victories to make New York a better place to be a child.
CCC’s work combines public policy research and data analysis with citizen action. And we protect our credibility and neutrality by not accepting government funding. We cast light on the issues, educate the public, engage allies, and identify and promote practical solutions to ensure every New York child is healthy, housed, educated and safe.