A New York Times article highlights recent efforts by the Obama administration and Congress to address the problem of child labor in the U.S. agricultural industry. After years of inattention to the issue, this week the Department of Labor announced a large increase in the fines that farmers can face for employing children, to as much as $11,000 per child, from around $1,000.

Labor Secretary, Hilda L. Solis, stated that she has added more than 250 workplace investigators as well as started a campaign to educate workers about their rights. However, officials and advocates recognize the need to change the current law that exempts agriculture from child-labor rules that apply to other industries. A proposal to ban the hiring of 12- and 13-year-olds, limit working hours by 14- and 15-year-olds, and keep teenagers out of hazardous jobs is gaining support in Congress. Over 90 Representatives have co-sponsored the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE) Act, introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA). Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) stated that he plans to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.

Read the full New York Times article.