John Kemmis – a children’s rights champion

John Kemmis – a children’s rights champion
John Kemmis – a children’s rights champion

It is with great sadness that Coram Voice mourns the news that John Kemmis, our friend, colleague, and former Chief Executive died on Tuesday.

We have lost a children’s rights champion who throughout his life worked unceasingly to improve the lives of children and young people. Following a successful career in social work John worked with Voice for the Child in Care, now Coram Voice, for over 15 years, 11 of which were as our Chief Executive (from 2000 to 2011).

John created a caring and supportive ethos within the Voice team. He was a much loved leader, colleague and friend. John was an inspiration to all of us who worked with him.

Under John’s capable leadership Voice became the leading charity for children and young people in the care system. During his time with Voice his achievements included fostering the creation of the National Standards for the Provision of Children’s Advocacy, launching the Start with the Child Stay with the Child blueprint for a child-centred approach to children and young people in care, developing and delivering the model for advocacy in Young Offender Institutions and Secure Training Centres, creating our specialist advocacy projects, and greatly increasing the numbers of children and young people we supported.

Although John retired as our Chief Executive in 2011 he continued to vigorously campaign on behalf of children and young people. Most recently he conceived and drove forward the national campaign for strengthening children’s independent advocacy.

John dedicated his life to helping children and young people take control of their lives and fulfil their potential. He was tireless campaigner for a better care system. With our memories of John as our inspiration all of us at Coram Voice will redouble our efforts to continue this vital work.

Read more about John’s life and work in his own words – and in the Guardian’s obituary for John