Jennifer Davidson

Professor of Practice, Executive Director, Prof

  • United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Professor Jennifer Davidson is the Executive Director of the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures, and its Inspiring Children's Futures Doctoral Research Centre.

Inspiring Children's Futures is an international research, policy and practice implementation group with a collective vision of ensuring that children and young people have what they need to reach their full potential, particularly those who experience adversity. 

Jennifer’s interests lie in the relationship between children’s rights and their lived experiences, and in the impact and value of international rights and standards to national and regional practice in public services. The mechanisms to promote meaningful and sustainable impact, from policy into children’s day-to-day lives, are at the heart of her work.

More specificallly, Jennifer works to embed children’s human rights into the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, for example as Project Director of the access-to-justice project: Justice for Children, Justice for All Global Initiative on behalf of the United Nations-sponsored Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies. Jennifer’s leadership of international child rights projects has also driven change for children over many years through the implementation of the UN Guidelines for Alternative Care of Childrenfor example as Project Director for the Moving Forward: Implementing the UN Guidelines handbook and in her recent partnership to establish the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights in Scotland.

During COVID, working in partnership with a wide range of international partners, Jennifer initiated and leads the international 'COVID 4P Log for Children's Wellbeing' Smartphone App project, to shape policy and practice through a better understanding of practitioners' and policy-makers' experiences and views of children’s rights and wellbeing under COVID, drawn from respondents across 22 countries and 5 continents. 

Jennifer's international experience is drawn from her work in several countries, where has held leadership positions in child and youth care, social work and professional education. Jennifer has served on national and international committees related to children’s rights and public services.

Jennifer is the Founding Director of a leading improvement and innovation centre in Scotland, CELCIS (the Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection), and directed its predecessor SIRCC (the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care) at the University of Strathclyde. While at the University, Jennifer has secured and led the delivery of over £75M in grant funding.

Jennifer was awarded an OBE in the 2020 Queen’s Honours for services to the care and protection of children in Scotland and abroad.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • International children's rights
  • Alternative care systems and international care reform 
  • Child welfare, child protection and child and youth care
  • Government policy-making
  • Public services leadership
  • Workforce development 
  • Systems change

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

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Keywords

  • alternative care
  • child protection
  • international children's rights
  • workforce development
  • leadership
  • government policy
  • systems change

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