A Royal Commission into the failures of Family and Community Services NSW (FACS)

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My name is Vanessa Lewin and I am the mother of this beautiful little angel boy Braxton Slager-Lewin.

When my son died in care our hearts were ripped out and nothing will ever bring my little boy back.

We will never see his cute smile again, never get to see him start school, he will never grow up to get married or have the chance to be a father. Braxton was robbed of his life and future due to neglect in foster care and his death should never have happened, the Duty of Care owed to him by FACS NSW, the foster care agency and the foster carer’s was breached.

Please join with me and support this petition to ensure Braxton’s death does not go ignored like so many other young children killed in care who’s deaths could have and should have been prevented so we can save other vulnerable children in care from the same fate.

South Australia has a Royal Commission into Families SA as a consequence of the death of a child known to the department that died in the care of her parents. Yet when children die in care there has been no accountability.

My son Braxton was only 22 Months old when he died on 13 September 2014 just 3 weeks after being placed in temporary foster care and those responsible for his tragic death from neglect must be held accountable.

An autopsy report stated police who attended the home at Stanthorpe Gardens NSW found that the pool fence did not have a self-latching gate and that the home was "not safe or secure for young children placed under foster care".

Police photographs obtained from the coroner, reveal beer cans and rubbish strewn throughout the home and its backyard as well as medications and poison within reach of a toddler. 

Braxton was left alone unsupervised for a considerable time while the carer was on facebook. Braxton was found dead in a filthy slimy green swimming pool. Life without barriers was the NGO managing Braxton’s out of home care placement approved by FACS.

For more details on Braxton’s story please go to his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/braxtonnicholasslager?fref=ts

And view his story on the ABC 7.30 report: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4240283.htm

My son Braxton was not the only young toddler to die in care this way a very similar death occurred just a few years prior when Indigenous 21 month old Lachlan Leslie was found dead at the bottom of a slime green backyard pool at Oakdale NSW on April 19 2011.

During the inquest into Lachlan’s death in 2013 it was revealed that the gate to the pool was not functioning, with the self-closing mechanism and the magnetic latch both not working.

The inquest into Lachlan's death heard that it was likely he fell into the pool after walking through an open gate while playing unsupervised in the backyard and that shortly before Lachlan fell into the pool, his foster carer, had asked one of the other children, aged 11, to put him to bed and the foster carer then went to bed herself for a nap.

Another NGO the Kari Aboriginal service was managing Lachlan’s Out of home care placement with the approval of FACS NSW.

Senior police stated the pool had been "in a disgusting state" with the water "nearly black" and a gap under the fence.

It was only when the carer’s brother and his children arrived later that day that they realised Lachlan was missing, calling police who began a search and found his body at the bottom of the pool.

While an inquest is yet to be heard in Braxton’s case an inquest cannot be relied on to prevent further children in care from dying of neglect as no one was held accountable in Lachlan’s death and if FACS, the NGO and foster carer had been held to account and appropriate changes made to actually protect children in care Braxton may still be alive today.

The only one's benefiting from the current Australian Child Protection Industry are the profiteering stake holders especially the NGO's many of whom are currently before the Royal Commission for their past and ongoing abuse and neglect of vulnerable children. Yet former Minister Pru Goward masterminded the transfer of all children in care to private enterprise resulting in the deaths of children like Braxton.

There are so many areas of failure with FACS NSW to numerous to list with constant evidenced complaints of abuse and neglect from children in care, their families and good foster carer’s being ignored and covered up.


Children are being forcibly removed from innocent parents and grandparents every day on false allegations while children in need of intervention and protection are being ignored and left in unsafe environments to suffer further harm. More then 70% of reports of children at risk are never even reviewed by FACS NSW.

Willing and able extended family members are being ignored when placing children in the care of strangers causing trauma for life.


There is NO external complaints mechanism in the Australian Child Protection Industry so evidenced complaints are NOT being investigated by anyone but themselves and the Department is NOT being held to account for their criminal misconduct and abuse and neglect of children in their care by anyone. Failures are being ignored and covered up.

We urgently need an independent external complaints mechanism with both investigative and prosecutorial powers for FACS NSW to save children in care from abuse, neglect and death.


Child Protection workers are NOT a registered Profession in Australia yet they have been given more power then any other profession. They have no Governing Body to establish and mandate codes of practice, conduct or even base levels of education and training. No external Board is monitoring their performance to protect the public from the harm they are doing to children and families everyday. No one is holding these unregistered caseworkers accountable in an environment of secrecy.

We urgently need National Registration for all Australian Child Protection workers so children in care, their families and carers have somewhere independent to turn with their evidenced complaints.

NSW forcibly removes more children then any other state and any other western nation per head of population. NSW has a proven record of failure, are not held accountable and too many innocent lives are being destroyed. Forced adoption is now the first priority for children in care in NSW for arguably economic reasons as they have taken more children then the system can cope with while only spending 10% of funds on family support and preservation and are constantly reducing support services.

We can no longer standby and accept the failures of FACS NSW and the trauma they inflict on vulnerable children and families and the deaths of innocent children in care like my son Braxton.

So please let's come together and sign this petition for our children and our children's children because their lives depend on it.

As a Legacy to Braxton please grant a Royal Commission into Family and Community Services NSW.



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