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CEO and Founder

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Champion for Children’s Rights. Researcher. Belfast Woman.

Mary Jo McVeigh is the founder and director of Cara House ‘a place for healing, discovery and growth’ and CaraCare charity; both which support vulnerable children, young people and their families through trauma- specific counselling and human rights practices. As a trauma therapist and an accredited mental health social worker with over 35 years- experience, Mary Jo has worked with children and families who have experienced child abuse, violence and trauma by assisting them to tap into their own resilience and strengths, to look at how they have survived in the face of adversity.


Mary Jo completed her Honours degree in Social Science in 1983 and worked in the community of North Belfast in Ireland, before returning to university and completing a master’s degree in Social Work in 1986. More recently, Mary Jo’s curiosity for knowledge has led her down the path of exploring and studying comprehensive bodies of literature, creatively utilising it within her therapeutic and leadership practice and more recently for undertaking a research PhD in Social Work at Sydney University, focusing on children’s rights and participatory values. Her approach seeks to raise critical consciousness of the potentiality of replicating inequalities and social injustices for children and young people, when the application of trauma discourses which sit within the medical paradigm are used in isolation to other social work practices.


Whilst the importance of children’s human rights has been nationally and internationally acknowledged on larger socio-political and systemic scales, Mary Jo’s research and literature review has highlighted that within the context of every day social work and therapeutic practice, children’s rights often remain invisible. This has inspired Mary Jo with the vision and determination to champion a children’s rights agenda across these sectors.


As a passionate writer, Mary Jo has sole authored a leadership resource and training course called Without Question, the Language of the Mindful Leader. She has also written the novel Discovering  Audacious Love as well as a chapter in each of the books in the Health Conscious Series. Mary Jo’s work has been published in professional journals. She has also written numerous training programs for practitioners and managers in government and charitable organisations within Australia. Mary Jo has published three innovative social work resources for working therapeutically with children and young people. The most beloved one, Wrapped in Angels, has received praise nationally and internationally.


Mary Jo is now acknowledged in her field as an expert in child protection, trauma therapy and leadership coaching. Her expertise has been sought on advisory panels such as the NSW Domestic Violence reforms and the Royal Commission into institutional abuse. She continues to present at national and international conferences, giving further voice to children, adults and families who have been impacted by the oppression of abuse and trauma.

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