assess the current status of regulation, monitoring, surveillance, and data collection associated with child labor in the United States; and
provide a set of recommendations regarding the collection of health and safety data related to child labor, the coordination of monitoring and surveillance activities to assure that adequate, reliable, and useful data are collected; the identification of conditions of child labor that appear to pose particular risks to the health, safety, education, and development of children and youth; and the identification of research needs and opportunities.
To fulfill these requests, the study committee and staff gathered information in a number of ways. Relevant research studies were collected through targeted literature searches of Medline, Educational Resources Informational Center (ERIC), and UnCover, as well as through searches of the past 10 years' indexes of journals devoted to the health or development of children or adolescents and journals devoted to occupational health and safety. The committee met four times between February 1997 and December 1997 to discuss data availability and research findings, identify critical issues, analyze the data and issues, seek additional information on specific concerns, formulate conclusions and recommendations, and refine this report. At two of these meetings, invited guests spoke to the committee about various data and issues pertinent to child labor and about relevant research findings. Prior to one meeting, several committee members had the opportunity to interview a group of high school students concerning their attitudes towards and experience with work and workplace risks. A paper on child labor regulations was commissioned for the study, and experts on various relevant topics were consulted informally between meetings. In addition, Current Population Survey data for 1995 and 1996 available on the World Wide Web were analyzed.
Chapter 2 discusses what is known about the extent to which children and adolescents are working in the United States, where they are working, and how much time they spend at work. Included is a discussion of the various sources of data and their respective strengths and weaknesses.