Child protection agency head quits over mistakes

By The Mandarin

Tuesday July 29, 2014

David Waterford, the head of Families SA and deputy chief executive at the South Australian Department of Education and Child Development, has resigned following his admission yesterday that he inadvertently misled the government.

The case of an unnamed Families SA worker who has been charged with sexually abusing children in his care caught the government unaware, despite the accused being flagged for “care concern” following a pervious allegation.

Waterford admitted he re-read the accused worker’s file after briefing the government that there was no previous indications of risk. Waterford explained the discrepancy in a written statement yesterday:

“With regard to one of those documents, revisiting it caused me to remember that I had only skimmed it and on Friday night I quickly came to the realisation that I had misinterpreted information on one page because I had not read another critical section.

“This failure caused me to honestly but inaccurately brief the minister and chief executive. I believe that as a consequence the minister made certain statements that were inaccurate.”

DECD’s deputy chief executive (resources), Julianne Riedstra, will temporarily replace Waterford.

Waterford began with Families SA in 2009 following an executive role in the SA Department of Premier and Cabinet’s social inclusion unit.

Families SA provides residential care to more than 300 children who cannot be placed in relative or foster care. Families SA was merged into DECD in 2011.

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