Dame Christine Lenehan



Christine has been Director of CDC since 2003 and is the driving force behind CDC.

Christine is a passionate advocate for disabled children, young people and their families working tirelessly to see a fully inclusive society where all children can achieve their aspirations.

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 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.

Dame Christine is often asked by ministers, civil servants and statutory agencies to advise on policy and practice and draw on her considerable experience: in the last year she has carried out Reviews for both the Department of Health and Department for Education, into the treatment of children with significant needs and the experiences and outcomes of children and young people in residential special schools and colleges. Both Reviews received a very positive response from Government, and implementation of their recommendations is likely to make a significant impact on practice in this areas and the experiences of the children and young people affected.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.

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. In 2016 she was awarded a Damehood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in recognition of her outstanding work for disabled children and young and people and those with special educational needs spanning over 35 years.