Mary McKinnon


Mary is a passionate and experienced senior leader focused on practice improvement through implementation of evidence-informed practices and programs in everyday service delivery. She has extensive experience across a range of executive, managerial and operational roles in government and NGO settings and currently serves as the Executive Director, Practice and Quality, at Life Without Barriers.


Keeping children safe: the journey to organisational congruence (Oral Paper Presentation)

As a large organisation working across multiple jurisdictions and service streams, Life Without Barriers (LWB) has a raft of models, initiatives, strategies, policies and procedures to keep children safe, supported and able to thrive.

LWB’s size and diversity brings with it many benefits – not least the ability to draw on a wide range of practice wisdom and expertise – but also creates the challenge of ensuring that practice is consistent, congruent and supported by the best available evidence while remaining adaptable to local needs. This presentation will outline the steps toward resolving this.

Particular focus is on our approach to bringing the continuously increasing complexity and volume of our systems, frameworks and activities together into a congruent whole and how we have gradually understood the need to conceptualise strands of work under a unifying, principle-based framework that can include:
• Organisational values
• LWB’s evidence-informed strategy
• Research partnerships and social policy
• We Put Children First – LWB’s stance on child safety
• Implementation of evidence-based models such as Children and Residential Experiences (CARE) and Mockingbird Family™
• Technological uplift and systems improvement
• Responding to the Royal Commission’s report and recommendations.

The purpose of this presentation is to share LWB’s learnings with those dealing with complex and disparate materials in their own organisations. Ultimately, this means working towards a principle-based approach that facilitates understanding, integration and problem solving so that the organisational parts can better work together in harmony to keep children safe, supported and able to thrive.

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