6 February, 2015

Louise Portrait

CEO and Director of Welfare of Barnardos Australia, Louise Voigt, has announced that she will retire in July this year, after 30 years in the role.

Chair of Barnardos, Gabrielle Trainor, said Louise was a passionate and tireless advocate for child protection in Australia who has earned the deep respect of all members of the welfare sector, including senior government officials and politicians from all parties.

“Louise has been a pioneer of best practice programs for children at risk or in out-of-home care and she will leave a lasting legacy for the children of NSW & ACT,” Ms Trainor said. 

“Over these thirty years, Louise has built a remarkable organisation, widely acknowledged for its strong culture and best child protection practice. We are very confident there are many leaders in the sector who share our vision and will be attracted to succeed Louise at Barnardos.

“Louise’s achievements are almost too numerous to mention, but under her leadership, Barnardos pioneered open adoption practice in Australia, improving the outcomes of children and young people and finding ‘forever families’ for children permanently removed from their birth parents due to abuse and neglect.

“Her simple yet powerful philosophy that ‘every child deserves to be safe at home’ has become the Barnardos mantra, and lies at the heart of the organisation’s 100+ programs and services.

“Louise has been steadfast in the centrality of the best interests of the child and giving the child a voice in decision-making. She was instrumental in the development of the innovative MyStory guided case management system, which ensures the needs of each child is fundamental to best practice.”

The board has activated an extensive recruitment process to achieve a smooth transition to a new CEO, Ms Trainor said. 

“In the meantime, Louise continues in her usual committed style and our important work continues as usual.”

Louise Voigt said: “It has been an honour to lead Barnardos Australia through such a remarkable period of growth and change over the last 30 years.

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved in protecting children from abuse and neglect through foster care and open adoption and helping to support thousands of families facing homelessness, domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction and mental illness.”

Barnardos aims to recruit a new CEO by May 2015.