Baroness Ritchie’s legacy praised by sector colleagues

By Janaki Mahadevan, Thursday 26 April 2012

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Leading figures in the children’s sector have hailed Baroness Shireen Ritchie’s commitment to children and families as “inspirational” following her death this week.

Councillor Shireen Ritchie

Baroness Ritchie died this week after a battle with cancer. Image: Kensington & Chelsea council

Baroness Ritchie held a number of positions in organisations championing children and young people.

These included acting as a member of the board of Cafcass, the family court advisory service, and as president for the National Children’s Bureau (NCB).

Anthony Douglas, Cafcass chief executive, said: “I was privileged to know and work with Shireen for many years on many programmes. She was an inspirational friend and colleague with sharp political antennae who got the best deal for children and young people time and time again.”

Baroness Ritchie became president of NCB on 25 November 2010. Dame Gillian Pugh, NCB chair, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of Baroness Shireen Ritchie’s death. As our president she promoted us to the external world and within government, championing our vision and speaking on our behalf.

“We feel honoured to have benefited from Shireen’s wisdom, commitment and drive. She has left a legacy of passion and service to NCB, and to the wider cause of children and young people. She will be missed. Our heartfelt condolences are with her family at this time.”

Kensington & Chelsea council, where Baroness Ritchie first became a councillor in 1998, said in a statement: “Shireen Ritchie successfully campaigned to reduce unnecessary demands on social workers so that they could focus on working directly with vulnerable children and their families. 

“She was a strong advocate for local government on a number of high-profile groups, including the Family Justice Review and the Social Work Reform Board.”

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