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21 Families SA workers still on watch


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More than 20 Families SA residential-care workers are still being assessed by internal audit regarding their suitability for their roles, the Government says.

In July, former Police Commissioner Mal Hyde launched an audit into nearly 500 residential-care staff in response to concerns about the adequacy of employee screening systems.

In October, 25 staff were barred from working with children – none due to police-related concerns – and more than 100 were flagged for further psychological and professional assessment.

Today, Education and Child Development Minister Jennifer Rankine announced that following those secondary reviews, 73 workers were cleared to return to or continue working.

Rankine also revealed today two care workers who had been flagged for further suitability assessment have been referred to South Australian Police for investigation. The allegations, which the department said were not regarding sexual matters, were not identified through the Hyde Audit but through department due process.


Rankine said the audit would continue for the benefit of children under state care.

“I appreciate this has been a challenging time for staff involved in the process, but I make no apologies for putting the interests of those children in our care first,” she said.

“The Department has endeavoured to finalise these matters swiftly, and has taken every step possible to ensure the process has been both robust and fair.

“It’s imperative that we have the right people caring for children who have experienced significant trauma.”

She said all workers identified through the process had been contacted about the outcome.

Counselling has been provided to all staff throughout the secondary assessment process, which included consultation with a panel formed by an independent external senior psychologist, a senior HR practitioner and a senior Families SA manager.

The audit was commissioned by Rankine after a Families SA carer was charged with sexually abusing seven pre-schoolers. Previous police investigations into the worker over alleged inappropriate behaviour toward young children were overlooked by the Department of Education and Child Development.

Audit findings are also being presented to Royal Commissioner Margaret Nyland as part of her Royal Commission into South Australia’s Child Protection system.


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