The Crittenton Legacy: Celebrating Dr. Kate Waller Barrett’s Advocacy for Women and Girls

The Crittenton Legacy: Celebrating Dr. Kate Waller Barrett’s Advocacy for Women and Girls

Every year we recognize a number of social issues that continue to need awareness in order to make a positive impact on the problem at hand.

Whether it be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, or National Child Abuse Prevention Month, or Mental Health Awareness Month there is always a cause worthy of support.

One of the fascinating things of rediscovering the National Crittenton Mission’s history is reading about the track record of Dr. Kate Waller Barrett a founder of the National Crittenton Movement.  Her life’s work over century ago intersects so many of today’s social issues that we still struggle to manage in today’s society.

She was a trailblazer in her own right. Based on historical documents we can confirm that she was a true advocate in helping the most vulnerable women and girls living at the margins during the late 19th and early 20th century.

From helping victims of human trafficking break the cycle of exploitation; to securing fair treatment of immigrant women and girls while detained in U.S. custody; and to defending single mothers in need as opposed to shaming them is without a doubt a legacy that Dr. Barrett deserves respect for.

Long before today’s advocates made strides on issues affecting women rights or even before the child welfare system actually existed in this country Dr. Barrett was fighting for the basic human rights of the most vulnerable. And she was doing this at a time when it wasn’t necessarily popular to do so.

Her reputation of being an advocate for women and girls was recognized both domestically and on the global stage. And for this reason she was appointed in 1914 as a “Special Agent” by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration (today’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection) in order to help combat international trafficking and to aid its victims.

We can go on and on about Dr. Barrett’s inspiring work, but perhaps you’d like to read it for yourself. As we celebrate Crittenton Services for Children and Families 50th Anniversary Celebration this year it is with great pride to say that our local mission has a direct connection to a legacy spearheaded by this remarkable women.

Thank you Dr. Barrett for paving the way for the rest of us, and for showing today’s Crittenton agencies how to advocate for those that need us the most.

Interested in supporting Dr. Barrett’s legacy?

Why not help Crittenton Services provide quality mental health services to today’s most vulnerable system-involved girls…connect with us to find out how you can help push the Crittenton mission forward.


Crittenton Services for Children and Families of Southern California (CSCF) is a non-profit social services agency whose mission is to heal the wounds of abuse and neglect; strengthen families; and help troubled adolescents reach their full potential. Established and incorporated in 1966 Crittenton has a highly trained workforce operating 24 hours a day / 7 days a week providing comprehensive counseling, behavioral health services, and other support services to the clients in our care. We provide a full array of residential, in-home, community based, wraparound family services, mental health services, foster care, and transitional age youth services with a service planning area throughout Southern California that covers Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties.

Visit  to learn about our programs and connect with us on Facebook, TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn, and Flickr.