AMAZED foster children were beaten, locked outside naked and had vinegar poured on open wounds.
A scathing investigation into “systemic and persistent abuse” found more than 100 incidents ignored over three years.
Instead, care homes in Doncaster, South Yorks, remained open and continued to be rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.
The regulator was alerted 40 times to incidents at the Hesley Group’s homes before they were finally closed in 2021.
Children were reportedly locked in bathrooms overnight, left in soiled clothes, forced to sit in cold baths and not given medication for days.
South Yorkshire Police are investigating some staff over alleged abuse.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said she was “appalled” and had instructed Ofsted to take further action.
Former support worker Chloe Straw, who worked at Fullerton House in 2017, said she raised her concerns to senior staff on several occasions.
She said: “I literally cried, begged and begged this woman to listen to me.”
Another said he saw a child being fed a spoonful of chili flakes – and being denied water.
South Yorkshire Police said there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a criminal inquiry but referred the allegations to local authority.
Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman said there was “a major failure of integrity” by Hesley managers to report incidents.