The Bassett Creek daycare in St. Louis Park amassed a long list of child care safety and supervision violations over the past three years, but it appears that an unpaid tax liability is what is forcing its closure. On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Human Services announced that it was revoking the child care center's license due to the tax issue.
The closure order takes effect May 21, though the center could remain open if it pays its tax debt before then. The center's phone number was disconnected Tuesday afternoon.
The revocation order comes just days after the state put the child care center on a two-year restriction and issued a $3,400 fine because of a variety of safety violations since early 2010. The laundry list of violations include:
- Substantiated maltreatment because a child was left unattended in an elevator in October 2010 and was discovered by a member of the public. The facility also failed to immediately report the incident and then provided false information about a worker's time schedule.
- Failing to submit background studies on three staff workers before they started working with children in fall 2010.
- Inadequate supervision on Nov. 9, 2010, when one staff person was in charge of six infants, four toddlers and two preschoolers -- with no other staff workers on site. The older children were in a separate room from the infants. Two weeks later, a state inspector arrived to found no staff workers in either classroom where children were present. The facility also was grouping toddlers with preschoolers even though they were 36 months apart in age -- which is a violation of state child care rules.
- Two workers did not have documented proof of required training to prevent SIDS or shaken baby syndrome.
- Many of the citations involved repeat violations, meaning the child care center had committed similar errors in recent years.
The revocation order comes amid efforts by the Minnesota Department of Human Services to toughen its oversight of licensed child care facilities. Due to an increase in deaths in licensed family child care homes, the state is planning to toughen sanctions against homes that don't follow safe-sleep practices for infants and violate other key safety protocols. The state is likewise planning to expedite its decision-making with regard to sanctions against child care centers with violations.