Today CDC’s Director, Christine Lenehan, officially becomes a Dame after attending a special ceremony at Windsor Castle.
In June we were thrilled to announce that Christine had been named in the Queen’s birthday honours list in recognition of her outstanding work for disabled children and young people, and those with special educational needs.
Christine Lenehan said:
“I am extremely proud to accept this honour on behalf of all the children, young people and families whose lives are affected by disability or special educational needs. Working with disabled children and young people has been a great joy for me and I feel very humbled for being honoured for my career. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Christine’s career has spanned over 35 years and she has worked tirelessly to see a fully inclusive society where all children can achieve their aspirations. Starting her working life as a social worker in 1980, Christine has always been a passionate advocate for disabled children, young people and their families.
As she moved from frontline support to management positions, Christine continued to champion the rights of children and young people working with public sector and voluntary sector with practitioners from across health, education and social care.
In 2000 she joined the Council for Disabled Children and became Director in 2003. As Director she has provided strong leadership and advice to the voluntary sector, championing the rights of children and young people and challenging the barriers that lead to exclusion. As part of the National Children’s Bureau she also works to ensure that children and families are seen in the widest context and that CDC’s work continues to link outside our specialism.
During her time as Director of CDC Christine has helped establish the long-running Every Disabled Child Matters campaign, co-chaired the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum, and served on the board of Healthwatch England until 2015. Christine is currently leading a review commissioned by the Department of Health about the care and treatment of children with some of the most complex needs imaginable: challenging behaviour coupled with mental health problems and learning difficulties. Christine has been meeting with a wide range of individuals in the health service, local authorities and voluntary sector. She hopes to complete the review within the next month and present her recommendations to Ministers.
In 2009 she was awarded an OBE for services for disabled children and young people and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The team at CDC and NCB are incredibly proud to see Christine's work rewarded in this way and we hope you will join us in congratulating her on this achievement.