In 2003 Vanobbergen graduated with a doctorate in Educational Sciences with the thesis No Child. A pedagogical analysis of the discourses about the commercialization of the living environment of children. Currently, he is visiting professor at the department of social work and social pedagogy of Ghent University. In the period 2006-2007, he taught intercultural pedagogy at the University of Groningen.
On 2 June 2009, Vanobbergen was appointed as Flemish Children’s Rights Commissioner by the Flemish Parliament. In March 2019, Vanobbergen became general manager of the Flemish Agency for Growing Up, which was created shortly before as a merger of Child and Family and Youth Welfare. In early 2019 he received an honorary doctorate from Hasselt University and on March 1, 2019, he received the Move against Bullying award.