The Interdepartmental Committee on Childrenand Youth consisted of federal agencies that fundedyouth-related programs. The committee providedconference participants with data on programs andthe numbers of youngsters served.
and Protection”); worked with the U.S. Children’sBureau, state, and local organizations; decided who would be invited; and dealt with the nuts andbolts o meeting arrangements. White House Conerences expanded inparticipation and content with each meeting. Thisis apparent in the 1950 and 1960 conerences, which oer a window to the impact o the waryears and to what oten seemed overwhelmingdemands o the baby boom o the 1950s.Many topics, such as juvenile delinquency and oster care, had been discussed since therst White House Conerence in 1909, but thecontext in which they, and newer subjects, wereviewed took on added relevance and urgency by the mid-1900s.To some degree, conerences ocused onrighting problems that were “typical o thedecade.” At the 1950 conerence, or instance,little attention was given to the quality o television programs or the medium’s impact onchildren. There were, ater all, ewer than 100commercial television stations in the country.Nor did meeting delegates ully understand,or appreciate, postwar population shits tothe suburbs or to states that “boomed” withemployment opportunities in deense industries.By 1960, however, both television and thedemands o changing population patterns were widely discussed in orums that ranged romthe topics o social services to education.The 1950 and 1960 conerences receivedinormation rom the Interdepartmental Com-mittee, which was made up o ederal agenciesand departments that administered programsthat in some way aected children. Establishedin 1948 to reduce duplication o services andto promote better communication within thegovernment, the committee had 28 membersby the mid-1950s. The statistical data andanalysis collected and disseminated by thecommittee was an important resource or thoseplanning and later attending the White Houseconerences. Where else would conerenceattendees learn that the National School LunchProgram ed 9 million children during the1950–1951 school year? And how many wouldhave known, unless amiliar with the program,that over 155,000 war orphans (children o servicemen killed in World War II and Korea) were eligible or aid through the War OrphansEducational Assistance Act?It would be impossible here to treat eachtopic in depth, but a small sample providessome idea o what concerned the generalpubic and policy makers o mid-20th-century America. Included here or consideration arecivil rights/integration; juvenile delinquency;adoption; oster care; housing; and the Cold War shadow o communism.Perhaps the most socially charged issue o the postwar era was civil rights. The discussion was not new. The nal report o the 1940conerence, or instance, devoted a chapter tothe extent that minority children (not only Arican American, but Filipino, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, and Native American) weredeprived o social services and schooling.In 1950, the status o minority childrenremained an issue, but the ocus was on thoseo Arican American heritage. Studies o Aid toDependent Children programs oered a casein point. In southern states, discriminatory practices kept many Arican American childrenrom receiving support through ADC programs,and when money was provided, it was ar lessthan that available to children in other sectionso the country. In Mississippi, or example, the
President Herbert Hoover is greeted by a youthband during the 1930 White House Conference onChildren and Youth.