The East Flanders public prosecutor’s office is opening an investigation into the Oudenaarde childcare center ‘t (b)engeltje to determine whether child abuse has been committed. The shelter lost its permit a few days ago after complaints.
Several parents and ex-employees told how children were forced to eat, locked up as punishment, kept with their heads in the toilet,… The first complaints dated back to 2011, barely two years after the opening of the childcare. But then the shelter remained open “because some complaints could not be verified”.
It is striking that last year the East Flemish public prosecutor’s office also conducted an investigation into possible child abuse in ‘t (b) engeltje engeltje. That came after four former employees and two parents went to the police. Numerous parents and ex-employees were then questioned, but after six weeks the file was dropped by the public prosecutor’s office. The assessment at that time was that there were not sufficient elements to take the file to court. The public prosecutor’s office says that they also made inquiries with the Growing Up Agency – then known as Kind en Gezin – but that no information was ever given about the many previous complaints.
The daycare manager could not be reached for comment.