A NURSERY providing care to children who have come from domestic abuse homes has earned praise for turning around the lives of withdrawn youngsters suffering from trauma.

Domestic violence charity Fortalice gives Bolton families refuge and support as they start a new life after escaping abuse.

Fortalice’s on-site nursery works with children staying in the refuge, dealing with the effects of early years spent in an oppressive environment. The facility has now been awarded an outstanding grade in all areas inspected by Ofsted, excelling in working with parents and encouraging children to celebrate their differences.

The Ofsted inspectors reported: “Staff are highly trained and well qualified. They use their knowledge to adapt their approach for each child in order to meet their individual needs. Precise assessment means staff know exactly what they can do to help children to achieve their next steps in development. Therefore, children make exceptional progress.”

Children who come from domestic abuse backgrounds can be alarmingly behind on their development, according to Paula Pollitt, the proud team leader of children’s services at Fortalice.

She said: “Our early years children have suffered significant trauma. Some of them can be aggressive because you learn what you live.

“It can also be the opposite and children can be reluctant to speak as they have been kept quiet to protect them from abuse.”

Families can stay at the refuge for as long as is necessary. The nursery focuses on improving communication and relationships between parents and children during their stays, which may not exist as a result of the abuse suffered. Staff have been specially trained to start from scratch with some of the children they welcome, even teaching children how to speak after arriving completely mute.

Ofsted inspectors said: “Partnerships with parents are exemplary. Staff organise group trips to facilitate bonding and communication within families. This has an exceptional impact on children’s personal, social and emotional development, rapidly closing gaps that have been identified.”

Ms Pollitt added: “We’re getting them to the point where they are school ready, I’m not sure that would be achieved anywhere else.

“We’re building confidence and showing parents how to play and interact.”

Ofsted inspectors agreed, saying in the report: “Staff act as excellent role models for the children in their care. They enhance children’s self-esteem by using their intimate knowledge to promote positive thinking. Children’s confidence grows as they are inspired daily to “live big, think tall, keep positive”.”

The chief executive of Fortalice, Gill Smallwood, said: “I am absolutely delighted in the grade that we have achieved.”