28 Sep 2011

The Children's Society Chief Executive Bob Reitemeier today announced that he will be leaving the charity after a decade at its helm championing improvements for the lives of the nation’s children.

In January 2012 Mr Reitemeier will begin his new post as Chief Executive of The Essex Community Foundation. This will allow him the opportunity to return to his roots, started more than 30 years ago in Africa, in grassroots and community development.

His achievements since joining The Children's Society, initially as Operations Director in 1998, have been considerable. As Chief Executive from April 2002, Mr Reitemeier moved the charity into a new era of working for social justice, with a major focus on the country's most marginalised children and young people. Its work around children at risk on the streets, youth justice, disabled children and refugee children is nationally recognised.

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.'

Just a few 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.
  • Significant 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, Bob has been a Member of the Youth Justice Board since 2006 and is currently Chair of the National Children and Young People’s Workforce Partnership. In 2009 he 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 said: '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.

'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, Bob 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 Eighties as a secondary school teacher in the Peace Corps in Zaire.

The Children’s Society Board of Trustees are leading the process to find a replacement.


Media enquiries

For more information, please call Jennifer Walters or David Dinnage in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • The Children's Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. 
  • Essex Community Foundation was set up in 1996 and has established a grants programme which has seen more than 4,500 grants totalling over £17.5 million awarded to Essex based charities and community groups.  Funds are distributed on behalf of a wide range of donors who want their charitable giving to be accessible to local charities.