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Homes for troubled kids closed after abuse

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Homes for troubled kids closed after abuse
A sign from one of the now closed houses. Photo: DPA
15:46 CET+01:00
Politicians on Wednesday closed a number of privately run homes for troubled children in northern Germany, where kids were physically abused and bullied by staff.

The state government of Brandenburg announced the homes run by Haasenburg GmbH would be closed following an investigation into the claims of abuse.

The Tagesspiegel newspaper said the investigating committee's report recommended that the homes be run by a different company - that the institution in Jessern that has been temporarily closed remain shut, that all anti-aggression and physical restraint methods used in the homes be immediately banned - and that each child at the homes be given an alarm connecting them directly to the police or ambulance services.

This was all seen as too damning an indictment on Haasenburg, and Martina Münch, the state education and youth minister said on Wednesday: "I do not consider the institutions of Haasenburg GmbH to be capable of reform." The homes would be closed, she said.

The state prosecutor in Cottbus has been investigating around 70 cases of abuse for the last few months, the Tagesspiegel said.

The authorities also came under criticism from the investigating committee. Not only did Haasenburg say it had the backing of the youth ministry since 2002, it was also not believable that officials did not know about the restraints being used at the homes.

Münch admitted that the homes had not been monitored properly and said she was going to reorganize the relevant section of her ministry. The committee called for closer investigation of the role of the ministry.

READ MORE: Probe after abuse claims at private kids' homes

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