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Jennifer Davidson

Professor of Practice, Executive Director, Prof

  • United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Jennifer is a Professor of Practice and the Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, a University network which also incorporates her role as Executive Director of the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), promoting the highest aspirations for the quality of public care experiences for children and young people, and secures their improved outcomes through the development of well-informed policy and the effective implementation of best evidence.

Jennifer previously directed the University of Strathclyde’s Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care (SIRCC)—the predecessor to CELCIS—which led the successful decade-long change programme across Scotland’s residential child care services.

In Scotland, Jennifer has a position of significant responsibility in working with the Scottish Government in the development of policy in this field.

Jennifer is driven by a passion for the effective protection of vulnerable children and young people. Her interests lie in the relationship between children’s rights discourse and children’s lived experiences, and in the impact and relevance of international rights and standards to national and regional practice in children's services.

In particular, mechanisms to promote the process of sustainable change from policy into practice are at the heart of her work. Jennifer has become a globally-recognised and respected international expert in this respect, with a close working relationship with the global work of the United Nations in driving forward these ideas across developing and developed countries.

Most notably, Jennifer spearheaded CELCIS successful International programmes. She was the project director for Moving Forward: Implementing the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, the international implementation handbook for the United Nations’ framework, with its foundation in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). She has led the CELCIS development of the global implementation measuring tool on behalf of the UN, Tracking Progress: Implementing the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and is the Course Principal for the associated international MOOC Getting Care Right for All Children.

Jennifer’s range of experience spans Canada, the United States and Europe, where she has held leadership positions in children’s services and knowledge exchange. Jennifer has served on national and international committees related to children’s services, and was a founding member of the US National Campaign for the Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

While at the University, Jennifer has led and managed the securing and delivery of over £60M in grant funding.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • 'Looked after' children, child welfare and child and youth care
  • International children's rights
  • Alternative care systems, international care reform and the United Nations Guidelines on the Alternative Care of Children
  • Workforce development
  • Knowledge mobilisation


Academic / Professional qualifications

Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Rights Law
Graduate School of Law, Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde, 2007-2009

Master of Social Work (with Honours)
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1994-1997

Bachelor of Social Work (with Distinction)
McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 1987-1991


  • looked after children
  • alternative care
  • child welfare
  • children's rights
  • united nations guidelines

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Jennifer Davidson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Projects 2009 2014

Research Output 2003 2017

Welcoming a national inquiry on in-care historic abuse in Scotland

Davidson, J., Feb 2015, In : Professional Social Work. 2015, 2, 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Moving Forward: Implementing The United Nations Guidelines For The Alternative Care Of Children

Cantwell, N., Davidson, J., Elsley, S., Milligan, I. & Quinn, N., 7 Mar 2013, UK. 127 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Open Access
UN General Assembly
party state
number of children

Activities 1999 2015

Expectations of the South African Children’s Act: Transforming Child and Youth Care Centres.

Jennifer Davidson (Invited speaker)
29 Jun 2015

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Umsetzung der Leitlinien für alternative Formen der Betreuung von Kindern

Jennifer Davidson (Keynote/plenary speaker)
18 Nov 2014

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesKey-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences