Parents call for harsher punishments for kindergarten safety violations

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A group of parents and parents' organization BOinK want child care directors to be legally prosecuted if the knowingly fail to comply with safety standards. They are therefore pressing charges against Amsterdam creche 24/7 Kids this week in the hopes of setting a precedent for childcare, NOS reports.

24/7 Kids was closed after a critical report from the inspectorate. According to BOinK president Gjalt Jellesma, the creche was looking after 50 children, while they only had a license for 12. "The children were dragged around all day and got too little to eat. One child even had pneumonia three times in a year", Jellesma said to the broadcaster. He believes that this constitutes child abuse. "When the inspectorate came for a check, a group of children were quickly ushered out of the creche with a handcart to a community center or shopping mall."

BOinK hopes that pressing charges will not only hold this creche accountable, but also put the issue on the map so that future violations are addressed more quickly and strictly. Lawyer Richard Korver is representing the parents. According to him, if the 24/7 Kids case goes to prosecution, this will be the first time that the owner of a childcare facility is held accountable for violations.

The Trade Association for Childcare supports this action. "Creches who knowingly flout the rules and seriously fail in their duty to responsible childcare, are in our view no longer welcome in the sector", spokesperson Jelmer Kruyt said to NOS. "If you bring your child to a kindergarten, you should be able to assume that the child is cared for in a safe environment."

Kruyt emphasized that 24/7 Kinds was not affiliated with the national association. "If it had been, we would have taken steps, of course."