Sunnyfield disAbility Services CEO Caroline Cuddihy will step down in July to take on a leadership role in a yet-to-be announced government community services agency.

Caroline Cuddihy

Ms Cuddihy has been with Sunnyfield for more than 14 years after starting out a volunteer in 2008. She joined the board in 2014 and has served as chair since 2016.

Sunnyfield’s Chair Karen Ingram said Ms Cuddihy played a key role in the priovider’s navigation and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“She guided our amalgamations with Pioneers in 2015, as well as Endeavour in 2018 growing our service footprint across NSW and ACT and helped secure the transfer to our ownership of our properties based on Crown lands,” Ms Ingram said in a statement.

Ms Cuddihy has also been a member and active contributor to the National Disability Services and Alliance20 and will continue her work with Disability Council NSW.

“I have been privileged to work with a wonderful collegiate team… who have provided great insight and passion in the delivery of our shared purpose to improving the lives of and empowering people with disability,” she said in statement.

Disability royal commission

Sunnyfield was the subject of a report published by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disabiliy On April 5 which found the provider’s policies and practices failed to protect residents at one of its group homes against violence and abuse by support workers.

The report said Ms Cuddihy, who gave evidence during hearings in May and September 2021, “frequently gave the impression in her oral evidence that she was reluctant to accept that Sunnyfield bore significant responsibility for the abuse and dysfunction that took place at the House”.

She also “gave the impression on a number of occasions that she was reconstructing events in a manner designed to lessen Sunnyfield’s and, to an extent, her own responsibility for the events at the House,” the commissioners found.

Sunnyfield celebrated its 70th birthday in March and recently added to its leadership team with the introduction of a chief client service delivery officer earlier this year.

It currently supports more than 1,700 clients via 2,300 services including shared independent living, short term accommodation, community hubs and access, supported employment, school leavers employment supports and support co-ordination, and has more than 1500 employees.

A recruitment process for a new Chief Executive Officer is underway and Ms Ingram will lead the organisation in the interim.

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