Nightmare conditions of Flemish nursery revealed in inspection report

Nightmare conditions of Flemish nursery revealed in inspection report
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A nursery school in Oudenaarde, East Flanders has been closed due to multiple reports of child abuse and neglect. The nursery was run by a woman who had been previously accused of child abuse in nursery schools in the past.

Tied to beds, locked in the kitchen, force-fed, heads flushed in the toilets...these are a few of the abuses some children reportedly had to suffer through at nursery 't (b)angeleltje in Oudenaarde, East Flanders. Upon hearing the horror stories, the Flemish Agency for Growing Up issued an immediate closure order.

The first complaints about the manager date back to 2012, but the negative testimonies about her and her two half-sisters took off in October last year after revelations from parents and former staff members, added with a visit from the Care Inspectorate.

"The manageress is not stress-resistant and cannot handle that hustle and bustle, so she comes out very aggressive and dominant," said a former employee.

"My little child, who is usually calm, was also beaten, but this was still relatively little compared to a nephew who was slightly more difficult, and who was beaten hard on various days," said a parent.

The manager had been reported by a former employee for stepping on the bellies of crying children. At other times, crying children had their faces held under cold water to stop them from crying. Children who had difficulties in the bathroom reportedly had their heads pushed into the toilet and then flushed.

Allegations about force feeding children to the point of throwing up have also been brought forward. A child who did not want to eat reportedly had its head pulled backwards between the knees of a care giver and force fed in this manner.

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While the accusations have shocked some parents who claim nothing out of sorts has ever happened to their child, many parents did notice that something was wrong. They told Het Laatste Nieuws that their children no longer wanted to sleep at home and that they had nightmares and wet the bed again. Some children cried in the morning when leaving and in the evening when getting picked up.

A psychologist has been appointed by the Care and Health Agency to guide the children and parents in moving forward.

In 't(b)angeleltje there was room for 32 children, for whom the city of Oudenaarde is looking for a solution together with the agency.

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