We are delighted to announce that Christine Lenehan, Director of CDC, has been honoured with a Damehood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016.
She received the award in recognition of her outstanding for disabled children and young people, and those with special educational needs, spanning over 35 years.
As a passionate advocate for disabled children, young people and their families she has worked tirelessly to see a fully inclusive society where all children can achieve their aspirations.
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. At a very early stage in my career I was struck by the fact that these children are often treated differently, by those who do not understand that disabled people have a voice or that they have something valuable to contribute. 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 began her career as a social worker in 1980 and worked extensively with children and their families in specialist roles in both residential and community settings. As she moved from frontline support to management positions she continued to champion the rights of children and young people working with the public, private 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.
A key part of her role involves working with ministers, civil servants and statutory agencies to examine and advise on policy and support the development of practical improvements.
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 our work continues to link outside our specialism.
Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
Christine has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of disabled children and those with special educational needs for over forty years and this is well-deserved recognition of her lasting contribution.
Anyone who has met Christine will testify to her wit, wisdom and energy, and her relentless dedication to raising standards for children and young people with disabilities is unrivalled. She has played a significant role in making sure the views, needs and experiences of disabled children and their families are represented in decisions that affect them and there will be a resounding welcome for this award across the voluntary sector.
During her time as Director she 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.
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.