Who is who?

Staff members

Kathy Vlieghe, coordination, TJK and international training

Katrien Herbots, research, policy advice and Research on Stage

Sara Lembrechts, research, policy advice and international training

Ellen Van Vooren, research, policy advice, training and communication

Nele Willems, research and training


Kathy has a master’s degree in German philology and a specialization in documentation and literature sciences from Ghent University, Belgium. From 1989 to 2009, she worked as a scientific collaborator at the Centre for the Rights of the Child (Ghent University). Until today, she is associated for 20% at the Department of Social Welfare Studies of Ghent University. She is co-organizer of different national and international training programmes, such as the Post-Academic Training Children’s Rights and the International Interdisciplinary Course on Children’s Rights. She is also editorial secretary of the Journal on Youth and Children’s Rights (in Dutch: Tijdschrift voor Jeugd en Kinderrechten).

Katrien studied Law (1995) and Supplementary Training in Criminology (1996) at the KU Leuven. In addition, she attended the Master in Public and Social Profit Management at the Antwerp Management School (2011-2012). At the academic level, for the last few years she has been working at the Institute of Persons and Family Law (KU Leuven), the Centre for the Rights of the Child (Ghent University) and the Institute of Social Law (KU Leuven). This was interspersed with employment at the Commission for the Protection of Privacy, the Centre for Social Work (including the newsletter Juvenile Justice) and as a sector coordinator Youth Care at the Pluralistic Youth Care Forum. Since May 2014, Katrien works part-time for KeKi. 

Sara has an MA in Childhood Studies & Children’s Rights from the Free University of Berlin (Germany), as well as an LLM in International & European Law and a BA in European Studies, both from the University of Maastricht (Netherlands). She has worked as an intern with Amnesty International in New Zealand, with UNICEF in Geneva and with the Belgian National Commission on Children’s Rights (NCRK). After being involved with KeKi’s activities as a student since 2010, Sara joined the KeKi staff in October 2012. Since February 2016, Sara also works part-time (20%) at the University of Antwerp (Faculty of Law) in an EU-funded research project on international child abductions.


Ellen studied Criminology at Ghent University and International Development at Katho-Howest. In the context of the latter she did an internship at the NGO 'Otra Cosa' in Peru with the aim of supporting various projects concerning children's and women's rights. She worked for two years in the mental health sector as a prevention worker. In this context she followed an continuing training in forensic behavioral sciences at the UGent. Afterwards, Ellen worked at the Study and Policy Service of Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers. She worked under the AMIF-project international and national partnerships, and on topics such as activation and integration of residents, training and education for asylum seekers, mental health care, migration flows and vulnerable persons with specific reception needs.


Nele studied Social Welfare Studies at Ghent University. She worked as attaché for the study department of the League of Families from 2000 to 2005. There she was responsible for the preparation and monitoring of files relating to education and training, youth and children. In 2006, she took up the coordination of the Child Rights Coalition Flanders. She worked out several thematic studies, including "violence against children", "failure and exclusion at school” and “perceptions of children and young people”. She also collaborated with colleagues from the French-speaking sister organization la CODE to the Alternative Report of NGOs on the implementation of the CRC in Belgium. In 2011, Nele exchanged the Coalition for the teacher’s training at Artesis Hogeschool Antwerp. In the past two years, she also taught “Human and Children’s Rights" at the Katholieke Hogeschool West-Vlaanderen. Since May 2013, Nele is 20% employed at KeKi.



Non-profit association

The Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre has the legal structure of a non-profit association, with a General Assembly and a Board of Directors.



Johan Put
president, Leuven Institute of Criminology and Institute for Social Law – KU Leuven

Wouter Vandenhole
vice-president, UNICEF Chair in Children's Rights – University of Antwerp

Lieve Bradt
treasurer, Department of Social Welfare Studies – University of Ghent

Els Dumortier
secretary, Department of Criminology – Free University Brussels

Didier Reynaert
human resources, Faculty of Social Work and Welfare Studies – University College Ghent

Ellen Desmet
member, Department of European, Public and International Law – University of Ghent

Stefaan Pleysier
member, Leuven Institute of Criminology – KU Leuven



Jenneke Christiaens, Free University Brussels
Rudi Roose, University of Ghent / Free University Brussels

All members of the board and the staff are also members of the General Assembly.



Finally, KeKi is backed-up by an advisory board that meets yearly. It is composed of representatives of the academic world, policy makers and civil society. The Advisory Board formulates recommendations for the functioning of KeKi, for example on the choice of priority topics and areas of interest.