Melissa Riddiford

Executive Manager - Client Outcomes

Melissa Riddiford brings a deep level of experience and enduring passion to the Cafs leadership team. With a career spanning over 25 years, including 18 years with the Department of Health and Human Services, Melissa possesses the vision and exemplary skills so necessary for her demanding role as Executive Manager of Client Outcomes.


For Melissa, life is full of positives, and it’s her grounded optimism that keeps her working to achieve the best outcomes for her clients and her team. She’s always looking at ways to improve and innovate.


“Every day, it’s about continuing to want to do things better and continuing to evolve and meet client needs. That’s a really easy thing to say, but it’s much harder in practice.

Melissa Riddiford

I love it when I hear a good news story about something that’s worked or gone well for our clients. It’s those wins that keep us moving forward.”


Melissa is one hundred per cent aligned with Cafs’ values, and she loves the strong progressive culture that runs through the organisation. At its heart, Cafs is about people, and she knows that her team members are best positioned to deliver positive outcomes for our clients and community when they work in a vibrant and inclusive workplace.


“I’m motivated by the changing and progressive culture that we’re developing,” says Melissa. “We’ve got a fantastic team who are passionate and energised about doing what’s good for our clients and the community. We’ve got one team member who’s been with us for 38 years and some who have been here for 35 years, so clearly we’re doing something right.”


Melissa is a leading voice and advocate for Child Safety. She is Chair of Cafs’ Child Safety Committee that has oversight of our systems and processes, ensuring they are optimised for the safety of our children, especially those in out-of-home-care. Melissa has been a guest lecturer at Federation University in the field of Child Protection practice. During her time at the Department of Health and Human Services, she worked across both Child Protection and Out of Home Care Reform as well as Policy, Training and Development and Quality of Care.


Cafs has over 40 programs targeting the specific needs of the communities we serve, and Melissa is responsible for client outcomes across all of them. For her, the key to achieving positive outcomes is strength-based collaborative work in partnership with clients. In real terms, that means finding where strength already exists and capitalising on it. It means looking for opportunity and fostering skills to achieve positive outcomes. At its essence, the approach that Melissa has outlined embodies Cafs’ values of respect, integrity, kindness, collaboration and innovation.


Over recent years, Child Safety has been a major focus for our organisation, and going forward, we see Family Violence as an area that also requires elevated attention. As Melissa explains, this work, that includes our innovative program for Men’s Behaviour Change and our integration with The Orange Door, underscores our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and families.


“We’ve got a strong commitment to child safety, and we’re looking to establish a stronger alignment in terms of Family Violence and develop a matching commitment,” says Melissa. “It needs our attention because if you work at Cafs, assessing Family Violence and understanding it needs to be front and centre.”


And for Melissa, it all circles back to Cafs as an organisation that is owned and governed by the communities we serve.


“It’s about local people helping local people,” says Melissa. “We’re about what’s good for our community.”


Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.


Recognition and Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Social Work, University of Melbourne
  • Diploma of Government, NMIT
  • Certificate of Family Therapy
Client Engagement Team 1800 692 237

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Head Office
115 Lydiard Street North
Ballarat VIC 3350

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Cafs acknowledges our past. In the spirit of reconciliation, we give deepest respect to Australia's First Nations Peoples. Their histories, their stories, their resilience. Their connection to culture and land. The wisdom of their Elders past, present and emerging.

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