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The tragic death of a toddler in care in Australia highlights the vital importance of home safety checks

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A coroner has ruled that the death of a 22-month old toddler in foster care in New South Wales was entirely preventable. The Guardian reports that the child, Braxton Slager, was discovered floating in a pool in the suburb of Stanhope Gardens in 2014, only three weeks after being placed in foster care. The coroner’s report concludes that the home was unsuitable and an unsafe environment for Slager’s care. Life Without Barriers, the not-for-profit organisation that placed Slager, conducted no physical inspection before placing him in the home.

We are deeply saddened by this event. It is tragic that measures could and should have been taken to avoid this, but were not. Practitioners should treat this incident with great seriousness, and ensure they are equipped to carry out proper home safety checks. A practice note is available from CoramBAAF on this subject, and there is a chapter on home safety checks in Undertaking checks and references in fostering and adoption assessments.

- Paul Adams