Child protection authorities were forced to apologise to a Canberra father for placing his three-month-old daughter in foster care without his knowledge.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had reported his wife and child missing to police when the girl was taken into care after his estranged wife had a breakdown in 2010.
It wasn't until this year that a Family Court process informed the father his daughter had been voluntarily entered into care for about three months in 2010.
The man concedes there were allegations of domestic violence against him, but says a police report found them to be unfounded.
In a letter to the Community Services Directorate after a complaint by the father, Children and Young People commissioner Alasdair Roy recommended care and protection services review the case and ''give serious consideration to providing an apology''.
Mr Roy found the father ''should have been contacted by CPS, formally assessed as to whether he was a suitable placement option, and been given the opportunity to respond to any concerns or allegations about his suitability''.
In an apology to the father, care and protection services director Helen Pappas said: ''I acknowledge that communication should have taken place with you from the very start. I would like to advise that the relevant policies are being reviewed in light of your experiences.''
The man, who also lodged a complaint with Community Services Minister Joy Burch, said yesterday his rights as a father had been denied.
''It was only when Alasdair Roy said you've breached the legislation and I strongly recommend that you apologise that they did,'' he said.
''How many times has this happened before and these people are not accountable? Hopefully by raising this we can make some positive changes.''
Canberra Liberals community services spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said Ms Burch was ''ultimately responsible'' for the matter.
''Apologies after the fact are not going to put this family together,'' she said. ''I think this is an utterly horrifying case but it's an example of all the things that go wrong in the care and protection system.
''This is a matter of leadership. How many times do things have to catastrophically go wrong in her department before this minister will take responsibility and take hold of this department and turn it around?''
Ms Burch said the matter had occurred more than two years ago and reforms to the care and protection sector had been made since. She said an unreserved apology had been made and accused Ms Dunne of politicising the case.
''For the Canberra Liberals to play politics with a sensitive case without knowing the circumstances, and to attack the difficult decision made by a front-line worker without knowing the context is deplorable,'' she said.
''A week out from the election we are yet to see a single policy from the Canberra Liberals on vulnerable families or care and protection.
''All we get is more attacks on front-line staff whose jobs would be at risk under a Liberal government.''