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Logos for the Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series and Child Welfare Research & Evaluation Workgroups on a plain background beside the title Building Capacity to Improve Program Evaluation

CB releases the first videos in the Child Welfare Evaluation Virtual Summit Series, part of this new section designed to meet evaluation-related needs.

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Read the Bureau’s story told against the background of changing world events and social movements.

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The new Children’s Bureau Spotlight Videos feature short discussions with CB leadership and staff on important themes that drive their work.

Image of a timeline with dates marked along the top and bottom of the background and the words Children's Bureau Timeline to the left

An interactive look at the most significant events in the Children’s Bureau’s 100-year history and the social/political events that shaped its evolution.

Children’s Bureau poster commemorating Children's Year, circa 1918

The Story of the Children’s Bureau: Then and Now Photo Credit: Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-9867

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April 9, 2012, marked the 100th anniversary of the Children’s Bureau. Join us as we celebrate the Children’s Bureau’s history of addressing critical issues affecting children and families and set the stage for the next century.

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Children's Bureau Timeline

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Take an interactive look at the most significant events in the Children's Bureau's 100-year history and the social/political events that shaped its evolution.

The Children's Bureau Legacy E-book Cover

The Children's Bureau Legacy: Ensuring the Right to Childhood

Children's Bureau, 2013
This history of the Children’s Bureau’s first 100 years combines compelling text with striking historical images to tell the story of the small Federal agency that continues to have a big impact on the lives of America’s children and families.
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Children's Bureau Express

Centennial Series

Articles explore the politics and social movements of the early 20th century that laid the groundwork for the creation of the Children's Bureau. View the 1st Centennial series.

Articles take a decade-by-decade look at highlights from the Children's Bureau's first 100 years. View the 2nd Centennial series.

Centennial Moments

In 1957, the Children’s Bureau partnered with the Florida Department of Welfare and the Russell Sage Foundation to conduct one of the earliest studies of private adoptions.

Adoptive parents meet their child for the first time, circa 1960.

The 1912 law establishing the Children’s Bureau called on the new agency to “investigate and report… upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people.”

President William H. Taft giving a speech believed to be the one described in the New York Times, April 26, 1912.

The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) collaborates with over 60 Federal and national partners in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month each April to help protect children and strengthen communities.

Logo from the 18th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect.

In the 1960s, the Children’s Bureau was designated the lead Federal agency for the care of unaccompanied Cuban refugee children.

Young Cuban refugee holding her dolls in a Florida airport, circa 1961.

The Bureau developed a reputation as an authority on child care, receiving as many as 400,000 letters per year. Mothers asked questions on diet, illnesses, how to keep a baby entertained, and more.

A letter received by the Bureau dated April 28, 1915.

The Social Security Act of 1935 greatly expanded the Children’s Bureau’s program responsibilities. The Bureau went from distributing nearly $340,000 in 1930 to administering just under $11,000,000 by the end of the decade.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, 1935.

Approximately 20,000 children featured on AdoptUSKids’ national photolisting have found permanent families since the website’s launch in 2002.

A recent public service announcement from AdoptUSKids.

After WWII, the Children’s Bureau oversaw the placement of thousands of European children evacuated to the United States.

Parents with child adopted from overseas, 1940s.

The Children’s Bureau encouraged sun baths and cod liver oil for infants—a simple and low-cost solution to prevent rickets, a debilitating early childhood disease.

Babies sunbathing on garden lawn, circa February 1946.

The Bureau developed a reputation as an authority on child care, receiving as many as 400,000 letters per year. Mothers asked questions on diet, illnesses, how to keep a baby entertained, and more.

Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers' Letters to the Children's Bureau

In 1942, to promote the use of U.S. child welfare literature in other countries, the Bureau published a glossary of child welfare terms in Spanish, Portuguese, and French with English translations.

Glossary of Certain Child-Welfare Terms in Spanish, Portuguese, French & English

The Children’s Bureau proclaimed “Children’s Year” beginning April 1918 and mobilized 11 million volunteers across the nation to reduce infant deaths by educating parents.

Children’s Bureau poster commemorating Children’s Year, circa 1918.

The 1931 Children’s Charter supported the protection of 19 fundamental rights of children, including: For every child understanding and the guarding of his personality as his most precious right.

Cover of The Children’s Charter.

Since November 1995, National Adoption Month has focused on raising awareness about the adoption of children and youth in foster care.

President Clinton puts his arm around adopted child, Charday Mays

Following World War II, the Children’s Bureau sponsored back-to-school drives for youth who had left school to work on war-related efforts.

Poster promoting reading and library use; an Ill. Work Projects Adm. art project

Responding to the large numbers of women entering the workforce during WWII, the Children’s Bureau developed standards for day care for children of working mothers and a maternity policy for industry.

Women welders on the way to their job at the Todd Erie Basin dry dock, circa '43

“Justice for all children is the great ideal in democracy.” —Grace Abbott, 2nd Children’s Bureau Chief, c. 1930.

Grace Abbott, date unknown.

After WWII, the Children’s Bureau oversaw the placement of thousands of European children evacuees sent to the United States. The Bureau provided standards of care and helped State and local agencies place the children.

Cover of Care of Children Coming to the U.S. for Safety Under Atty. Gen's Order

By 1930, three popular Children’s Bureau publications—Prenatal Care, Infant Care, and Child Care—had a combined circulation of more than 10 million.

Cover of Infant Care, stamped by Congressman William Carss of Minnesota, 1926.


A new video captures 100 years of leadership in protecting children and strengthening families. The series also includes seven spotlight videos on key topics. Available in English and en Español.

Image link to Link to Children's Bureau Express websiteImage link to FLU.gov websiteImage link to InsureKidsNow.gov website


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