Maltreatment found at Minnesota child care centers

  • Article by: JANE FRIEDMANN
  • Updated: May 31, 2011 - 10:14 AM

A child in day care died after choking on a grape. Another was burned by hot food. Two more tumbled off diaper-changing tables.

These were some of the cases of maltreatment found at child care centers by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the second half of 2010. The department received 229 complaints against child care centers in that period.

The state describes maltreatment as failure "to supply a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, health, medical or other care required for the child's physical or mental health" or failure to keep a child from danger when reasonably able to do so.

There are more than 1,500 licensed centers in the state. Here are the eight substantiated maltreatment findings issued from July through December 2010.

Golden Heart Child Care Center, North Mankato

A 4-year-old child died after choking on a grape. When staff realized the child was choking, they unsuccessfully performed abdominal thrusts. The child lost consciousness and staff started CPR. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Inspectors found there was at least a two-minute delay in calling 911, during which time staff notified co-workers and called a family member.

Golden Heart was fined $1,000 and its license was placed on conditional status for the death. It must revise its emergency protocol and train staff. A new food policy excludes whole grapes.

Another maltreatment finding was made after a 7-month-old baby, who was being held by the leg while seated on a diaper-changing table, rolled and fell 3 1/2 feet to the floor.

The infant had a bump on his or her head but was otherwise uninjured. The worker was found to have failed to follow procedures.

Central Child Care, St. Paul

An 8-month-old infant developed blisters on a finger and thumb after grabbing at a serving of mashed potatoes and gravy. The facility was found responsible, for lacking a procedure to ensure safe food temperatures. It was fined $1,000.

Kids Inc. - North, Hutchinson

A 2 1/2-year-old child had just woken up from a nap and was told to join others in the lunchroom. Instead, the child left the building and was found by a passerby. The facility was found at fault for failing to train staff and was fined $1,000.

St. James Lutheran Early Education Center, Burnsville

A child sustained a "displaced fracture" of a leg bone and a "bowing" of another after being struck by a "large and extremely heavy" metal cross. Five children were playing hide and seek. Two had hidden behind the cross and a folding table, which were propped against a wall. When one child stood up, the cross and table fell over. The facility was fined $1,000.

Y Wee Care, Virginia

A preschooler left the facility and walked about 300 yards through a college campus to his or her parent's office. Co-workers called the parent, who was at home that day.

Two Y Wee Care employees were found responsible for not keeping track of the 5-year-old. The facility was fine $200 for not immediately reporting the incident.

Kids Avenue Learning Center, Faribault

A parent found someone else's 22-month-old toddler unattended in the center's parking lot. The child was last noticed five to 10 minutes earlier in a fenced playground. The staff member assigned to watch the toddler was found to be responsible. Kids Avenue was fined $200 for failing to immediately report the incident.

Agape Child Development Center, St. Paul

An infant rolled off a diaper-changing table and fell three feet after a worker reached for a sink. The child was uninjured. The staff person, who no longer works at the center, was deemed responsible.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in Minnesota. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune.com.

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