Not long after the world’s first juvenile court opened in Cook County, Illinois, in 1899, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) was established to study, expand, and standardize this very new juvenile justice system. Prior to the late 1800s, society treated troubled children and teens as miniature adults, prosecuting them accordingly.

NCCD was organized in 1907 by a group of 14 probation officers meeting in Minneapolis to create a volunteer professional organization for those working in the emerging fields of probation and parole. They named themselves the National Probation Association (NPA), and actively pursued progressive system reforms as a means of keeping children out of the criminal justice system. The organization assisted many states in organizing their first juvenile court systems and in developing programs to rehabilitate offenders without resorting to incarceration.

In 1947 the NPA merged with the American Parole Association to form the National Probation and Parole Association (NPPA). In 1960, the organization’s name was changed to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to reflect its growth and larger public policy interests. For many years, NCCD was a primary consultant to the Department of Justice in the areas of violence prevention and juvenile justice reform.

In 1993, NCCD created the Children’s Research Center (CRC). CRC works with state and local agencies to implement actuarial risk-based decision-support systems for child protection.

Today, along with the above specialties, NCCD's expertise extends to the fields of adult corrections, adult protective services, economic support programs, data monitoring, and charter school monitoring. With offices in Madison and Oakland, NCCD works with agencies and organizations across the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, Bermuda, Singapore, and Taiwan.