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 £57M in grant funding.