Outgoing Children's Society CEO leaves social justice legacy

By staff writers
30 Sep 2011

Children’s Society CEO Bob Reitemeier has this week announced that he will be leaving the charity, after a decade at its helm.

As chief executive from April 2002, Mr Reitemeier moved the Children's Society into a new era of working for social justice, with a major focus on England’s most marginalised children and young people.

Its work around children at risk on the streets, youth justice, disabled children and refugee children is now nationally recognised.

In January 2012 he will take up a new post as chief executive of the Essex Community Foundation, allowing him the opportunity to return to his roots, started more than 30 years ago in Africa, in grassroots and community development.

Mr Reitemeier said: “I have been privileged to have been part of this magnificent organisation and feel incredibly proud of what we have achieved on behalf of the thousands of disadvantaged children and young people we serve.”

Some of the charity’s achievements under his leadership include:

· Commissioning The Good Childhood Inquiry, published in 2009, the UK’s first independent national inquiry into childhood, which helped to renew society's understanding of childhood today.

· Campaigning and lobbying leading to major policy change, including the introduction of guidance for local government to protect and support the 100,000 children under the age of 16 who run away every year.

· Strengthening the charity’s foundations in the views and voices of children, including establishing the most extensive research programme in Europe examining children’s subjective wellbeing.

· Influencing national government through membership of the Youth Justice Board since 2006 and chairing the National Children and Young People’s Workforce Partnership.

In 2009 Mr Reitemeier was Deputy Chair of the Social Work Taskforce, and is a former Chair of Children England (2004-2008) and founding Director of the Children’s Workforce Development Council (2005 - 2008).

The Children’s Society Chair of Trustees Bishop Tim Thornton commented: “Bob has been an inspirational leader whose contribution has directly improved the lives of so many children, young people and their families. He will leave a lasting legacy."

Bishop Thornton continued: “Under his leadership, the Children's Society defined its vision of how it would work with, and for, the most disadvantaged children and young people into the 21st century. He has put the ‘the voice of the child’ at the heart of all our work and created major change for the nation’s next generation.”

Before joining The Children's Society, Mr Reitemeier built up more than 20 years of experience in the voluntary sector, living and working in Africa and Asia. His career began in the early '80s as a secondary school teacher in the Peace Corps in Zaire.

[Ekk/3]

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