Minnesota's caps on children allowed in licensed family child care are a bit complicated, but they are designed to protect infants and ensure that they receive adequate attention. Sunday's story on overcrowding showed some tragic consequences when in-home child care providers exceeding their capacity levels and supervised too many children.

Sunday's story showed that the risk of overcrowding isn't just to infants, though. Family child care provider Elizabeth Ann Molnar of South St. Paul lost her license last October after the following incident (narrative below is from state revocation order):

Violation(s): The above report was investigated by the West Saint Paul Police Department and Dakota County Social Services Department. As a result of the investigation, it was determined that on July 29, 2010, you took 12 children in your care on a field trip to a local restaurant.  You were accompanied by a second adult caregiver and a teenage helper. The second adult caregiver left the restaurant at 12:15 p.m.; prior to you leaving with the children and helper.  When you left the restaurant you left a preschool-aged child at the restaurant without supervision. You failed to realize that you left the preschool-aged child at the restaurant until approximately 4:15 p.m. when the parent arrived to pick up the child. The parent and child were eventually reunited at the police station.

Molnar was licensed for 12 children, but only two could be infants or toddlers (and only one of those two could be an infant). Inspectors found that she was caring for two toddlers AND two infants.

Parents are encouraged to know these capacity caps when they are evaluating child care for their kids and to report incidents of overcrowding, said Jerry Kerber, inspector general of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. So here they are:

9502.0367 CHILD/ADULT RATIOS; AGE DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTIONS.
A License: Family Day Care
Total Kids Adults Total Kids Under School Age Total infants and toddlers
10 1 6 3 (no more than 2 can be infants)
B License: Specialized Infant and Toddler Family Day Care
Total Kids Adults Total Kids Under School Age Total infants and toddlers
Option 1:
5 1 3 No more than 3 infants.
Option 2: 
6 1 4 No more than 2 infants.
C License: Group Family Day Care
Total Kids Adults Total Kids Under School Age Total infants and toddlers
Option 1: 
10 1 8 3 (no more than 2 infants)
Option 2:
12 1 10 2 (no more than 1 infant)
Option 3:
14 2 (helper 13 or older can be used in place of 2nd trained adult if only 1 infant or toddler is present) 10 4 (no more than 3 infants)
D License: Specialized Infant and Toddler Group Family Day Care
Total Kids Adults Total Kids Under School Age Total infants and toddlers
9 2 7 No more than 4 infants.

 

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