New chief for under-fire SA child protection agency

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A senior education official has been named the new boss of South Australia's embattled Department of Child Protection.

Jackie Bray has been named to head up the agency after a wide search for a replacement for Cathy Taylor.

Ms Bray is the director of the Department for Education's Office of the Early Years and previously worked in correctional services and youth justice.

She takes over child protection after months of criticism over how the department handled a number of cases of abuse and neglect, particularly those involving the death of a seven-year-old boy in February last year and a six-year-old girl in July.

The agency was also criticised in 2020 when it was revealed two 13-year-old girls in state care had become pregnant, one to a convicted paedophile.

Acting Premier Susan Close said Ms Bray was selected from a field of more than 60 applicants.

"We've acted swiftly to ensure we've selected the best possible candidate to run our state's Child Protection Department," Ms Close said.

"Jackie Bray has a wealth of experience driving change in government agencies in South Australia and the United Kingdom."

Ms Bray said she was proud of her record and welcomed the opportunity to take on the challenging role.

"I know there are many talented and dedicated child protection staff in our system who have the welfare of children at the forefront of their work," she said.

"I will endeavour to provide them the clarity, training and decision-making structures needed to make a real difference."

Before she left last month, Ms Taylor rejected suggestions she had been forced to resign after six years in the job.