LIFE SUPPORT: Nicholas Kostyn pictured at home with his son, Jack.
LIFE SUPPORT: Nicholas Kostyn pictured at home with his son, Jack. Brenden Allen

Forgotten children

NICHOLAS Kostyn holds the proof of his life according to DoCS.

Two folders containing documents track his life as a ward of the state from the time he was 18-months-old until he was 18.

Mr Kostyn is a survivor of a child care system that took him from his mother's care and placed him in danger.

It was while he was in care, passed from one foster home to another and from one boys' home to another, that he became the victim of physical, emotional and sexual abuse and decisions by bureaucrats who cared so much about his welfare they never asked him where he wanted to go to school or where he wanted to live.

The files document visits to doctors and dentist, clothing and travel receipts and school reports.

In the files there is no mention of the assaults on Mr Kostyn.

"I always thought there was a third file, a huge chunk missing," Mr Kostyn said.

"Having access to the files is like a weight being put on me like a couple of bags of cement."

Now 43 years of age, Mr Kostyn is himself now a single parent with a vibrant son, Jack, 6.

"Having a child is the biggest challenge of my life and one I have taken on with gusto," Mr Kostyn said.

"It's the best thing that has happened to me and is part of my healing process."

Mr Kostyn is determined to give his son the life he never had, one of stability, ongoing love and a sense of family.

"By the time I was 16-years-old I had lived in 40 different places and I always thought I was alone," Mr Kostyn said.

"Between placements I lived in depots and when I wasn't with a foster family I lived in boys' homes.

"Finding me a foster home after this was never successful.

"Royalston Boy' Home was the closest thing to jail, and then I was sent to various boys homes in Mittagong, and finally Weroona in the Blue Mountains.

"It was in these institutions where the main abuse occurred.

"We were never told in advance where we were going.

"Your bag was packed one day and you took a train ride somewhere and it was only after you arrived at the next boys' home or foster home you were told that was your new home."

Mr Kostyn said during the school holidays he and other children at the homes were sent to live with foster families.

"I would spend a couple of great weeks with a nice family, which was the closest thing to a normal life for me," he said.

"But the biggest hurts were when they took me back to the home because I didn't understand how those nice people could drop me back to a place of hell.

"I know now they did not know what was going on behind those closed doors."

Mr Kostyn cannot speak of what happened to him in the homes.

Not being heard, not having control and broken trusts are a source of anger for Mr Kostyn who believes he and 500,000 other young Australians who grew up in care and survived deserve acknowledgment from the Australian Government.


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