About ICF

Mary Garrison

Vice President, Children and Youth Portfolio
Mary has over 35 years of experience providing training and technical assistance to organizations working to keep children, youth, and families safe and healthy.

Mary has more than 35 years of experience providing management, training, and technical assistance to individuals, organizations, and jurisdictions working to keep children, youth, and families safe and healthy. With a background in mental health and child welfare, Mary built her expertise in the social service intersections of mental health, behavioral health, juvenile justice, and child welfare.

As a supervisor and manager, Mary understands the critical role that good personnel leadership plays in achieving positive outcomes. Her expertise in developing supervisors and managers has become a cornerstone of her technical approaches. She provides solutions and strategies to promote data-driven decision-making, continuous quality improvement, and accountability. Mary is also an implementation expert who builds tailored solutions to help move the field forward by identifying the right problem to solve at the right time, in the right place.

Mary began her career in rural mental health, focusing on treating children and families who had been traumatized by abuse and domestic violence and had lived in poverty for generations. She worked with the child abuse investigations units to find appropriate placements and interventions before moving to a private child welfare organization, where she developed and managed residential and day treatment, group and foster care, and clinical and independent living programming. Beginning in 2000, Mary provided training and consultation to public child welfare agencies in practice model and leadership development, mental health, assessment, and policy implementation. She also worked with university partners to support organizational development in public child welfare agencies in multiple jurisdictions.

Early in her career here, Mary led the development of the capacity-building approach for public child welfare agencies and oversaw the development of the change management model, which became the standard for how training and technical assistance (TTA) was delivered in child welfare. She was responsible for overseeing the implementation of a program designed to deliver TTA to every state child welfare jurisdiction in the country, including virtual conferences, peer-to-peer networks, product and learning development, and data-driven decision-making. Under her leadership, the project delivers 100 products, 80 events, and over 30 tailored projects per year.

Mary has also led the development of solutions for TTA to programs serving unaccompanied minors. She is responsible for a large portfolio of federal, state, and local child welfare and juvenile justice projects.

Mary has a masters of science in social work and a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Tennessee. She holds an Executive Education in Leading Effective Decision Making certification from the Yale School of Management, and she is a published author.

  • MSSW, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • B.A., University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Ten Broeck, E. & Garrison, M.D. (2008). Satir Family Camp. Science and Behavior Books.