In August 2022, Debbie Downes joined The International Centre of Missing and Exploited Children as the Director of Global School Initiatives. In this role, she develops and provides child protection training, support, and resources to schools around the world. She has been supporting ICMEC’s work as a regional trainer since July 2020.
Debbie has worked in international education for 18 years, first as an elementary teacher, then as school principal, and then as Accreditation and Child Protection Lead for Quality Schools International. She developed and revised handbooks, policies, and resources to support child protection efforts at a group of 36 international schools. She also supported schools with on-site and virtual professional development.
Debbie’s background in child protection includes an MSW from the University of California at Berkeley and several years of experience working in the court unit of Children and Family Services in Contra Costa County, California. Debbie’s overseas career began with 3 years as a health education volunteer with the Peace Corps in Kolda, Senegal. She has since lived with her husband, 2 children, and 2 rescue dogs in Thailand, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, and her current location of Minsk, Belarus.