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Maltreatment findings at Minnesota child care centers in 2011

Posted by: Jane Friedmann under Businesses in hot water, Whistleblower Updated: April 15, 2012 - 4:03 AM
An employee of a child care center dropped a toddler, who suffered a skull fracture. A child in a different facility sustained a “red, open, and raw” abrasion from being dragged across carpeting. Ten children wandered away from child care centers and three were given food to which they are allergic. 
These are some of the 20 cases of maltreatment substantiated at child care centers by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) in 2011.
 
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. I’ve listed the seven cases substantiated in 2011 that involved physical injury to a child.
 
In cases of injury requiring professional medical attention, the responsible employee, if any, has been disqualified from working directly with people receiving services from facilities licensed by DHS and certain other agencies.
 
For a full report on each finding, click on the name of the facility.
 
Aldrich Memorial Nursery School, Rochester, $1,200 fine for incident and failure to report it to the state
 
A two-year-old child likely forced his or her way through a gap between a playground’s chain link fence and a gate that was known to loosen on occasion. The child’s caregiver drove into the facility’s parking lot and saw an unknown person nab the child as he or she ran through the parking lot.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Facility
Remedy: The gate was adjusted and may be replaced. Toddlers are to be returned from the playground to classrooms before dismissal time.
 
 
In an attempt to talk eye-to-eye to an unhappy three-year-old child who was lying face down on the floor, an employee lifted the child by the upper arms, causing bruising. The employee said he or she was assisting the child, who was in the process of getting to his or her feet.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? Yes
Remedy: The facility completed an internal review.
 
 
A worker fed cow's milk to a three-year-old child known to be allergic to it. The employee had poured a glass of soy milk for the child, but gave the child the wrong glass. When the employee saw the soy milk still unserved, staff took the cow’s milk away, rinsed the child’s mouth and administered Benadryl. The child developed a rash “from head to toe” at home later that day and was treated with epinephrine at a hospital.
Responsible for maltreatment: An employee
 
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? Yes
Remedy: The center retrained employees on allergies, developed a written plan that includes using a different-colored cup for the child and serving that child first.
 
 
A 22-month-old child slipped away as two staff members were bringing eight children back to the facility from a playground attached to a community center in which the facility was housed. At the time of the disappearance, one of the staff was dealing with a child that was attempting to bite another child and the other staff person was rounding up two toddlers who had attempted to return to the playground. The worker at the front of the line reached the facility and yelled to the other that she had five children with her. The other responded that she had only two. One worker went outside to find a stranger carrying the child back to the facility from “down the block.”
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The facility purchased a walking rope and retrained staff.
 
 
A newly-hired employee fed peas to a 15-month-old child known by the facility to be allergic to peas. The child developed a rash on his or her face. A family member who worked at the facility administered medication to the child.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Facility
Remedy: The facility added the “Allergies and/or Food Restrictions” sheet to food carts used to deliver food to classrooms.
 
 
A worker vacuuming a rug ran over an infant’s hand when the child crawled to the vacuum and tried to use it to pull him or herself up. The infant received a “superficial rug burn.”
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The facility completed an internal review. The responsible employee no longer works at the facility.
 
 
A worker confined a four-year-old, who was having a “temper tantrum,” in a high chair and told the child he or she was “acting like a baby.” The state decided marks left on the child’s arm were likely caused by trying to hold down the child’s flailing arms.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? Yes
Remedy: The facility implemented a “behavior action plan” for the child. The responsible employee no longer works at the facility.
 
 
A five-year-old was left behind at a playground. Staff counted the children before leaving the playground to return to the child-care center, but the child slipped away after the final head count. The child admitted that he or she hid inside or under a slide and later walked into an area business because he or she “wanted to go shopping.” A person working at the business first drove the child to a nearby elementary school and then tried to determine where the child lived, but eventually contacted police. Staff at the center had been actively searching for the child.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The facility retrained the staff on taking attendance during transitions.
 
 
A worker, who is also a family member of a 22-month-old child cared for at the center, lost his or her grip while lifting the child. The toddler fell, sustaining skull and wrist fractures.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? Yes
Remedy: The facility updated its policies and retrained staff. The responsible employee no longer works at the facility.
 
 
A three-year-old child who had been using the restroom when the rest of his or her soccer group was led outside for their soccer lesson, was sent unescorted to join the group. The child turned the wrong way after leaving the building, toward where soccer practice used to take place. A construction worker found the child about a half mile from the facility and called police. Staff were unaware the child was missing until they saw the construction worker and child walking toward the building and a police car pulling up.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No.
Remedy: The facility retrained staff. The responsible employee no longer works there.
 
 
Two workers responsible for serving snacks gave a cupcake containing egg to a three-year-old child known to be moderately allergic to egg. Neither employee checked the ingredient list for the cupcakes. The child developed a stomach ache and was picked up by a family member. At home the child developed a rash and began vomiting. The child was brought to a hospital but the rash dissipated after the child vomited again. No medication was administered.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees. They are no longer employed by Knowledge Beginnings.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The facility reviewed its policy.
 
Language of Love Learning Institute, Eden Prairie, $200 fine for failing to report the incident to the state. The facility has sinced closed.
 
Staff failed to meet a five-year-old child at his or her bus stop. The child was dropped off as scheduled one-tenth of a mile from the building by a school district bus. The child waited for a bit, but became frightened, had a “toileting accident,” and, because the sidewalks were unshoveled, began to walk in the street toward the facility. A stranger passing by drove the child the rest of the way to the facility.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: Staff was trained on the use of a timer to remind themselves to meet children who arrive by bus.
 
 
A 23-month-old was found crying at the bottom of playground equipment . The child received a “spiral fracture” of the femur and was fitted with a “spica” cast covering part of the chest and both legs.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: The facility
Remedy: The facility conducted an internal review.
 
Mississippi Valley Montessori School, West St. Paul, $1,200 fine for incident and failure to report it to the state
 
After using the restroom, a three-year-old child left the facility in mid-30-degree weather and walked two-tenths of a mile home. The unwritten policy of the facility, located in the basement of a church, allowed staff to watch restroom and classroom entrances simultaneously when a child was using the restroom.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Facility
Remedy: The facility completed an internal review.
 
 
 In what a worker said was meant as a playful act, the worker dragged a 4-year-old by the arms about 18 feet across carpeting, causing a “red, open, and raw, oval shaped abrasion” on the child’s lower back.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? Yes
Remedy: Employees were retrained to never pull children. The responsible employee no longer works at the facility.
 
 
A worker threw crayons at a six-year-old child during what a coworker described as “horse play.” One crayon gave the child a black eye.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The facility retrained staff. The responsible employee no longer works at the facility.
 
St. Peter Community Childcare Center, Inc., St. Peter, $200 fine for failing to report the incident to the state
 
A two-year-old child climbed over a stack of cots and left the child-care facility, but remained within the community center in which the facility is housed. A stranger noticed the child following him or her into a gymnasium. Community-center staff returned the child to the facility. Child-care staff were unaware the child was missing.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: Employees were retrained and reprimanded.
 
 
A three-year-old was left buckled into a car seat on the facility’s bus one morning. The bus arrived at the facility at about 7:15 a.m. and children were brought into the facility in small groups because it was raining. At about 1:30 p.m., as staff prepared to sing “happy birthday” to the child, they discovered that he or she was missing. Fifteen minutes later the child was found still buckled in, sitting on the back seat of the bus, at which point the child “smiled and said, ‘It’s my birthday.’”
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: The child’s car seat was moved from the back of the bus to the front. Managers must meet the buses as they arrive and match bus passenger lists with classroom lists. Beepers were installed on the buses that activate when the ignition is turned off. The driver needs to walk to the back of the bus to turn the beeper off.
 
 
Four toddlers left the facility after knocking down a temporary plastic gate separating the facility’s toddler room from the “big room” of the church in which the facility is housed. One child made it as far as the big room, but three were able to exit the church through a door that church staff had propped open because of the heat. The children were found about 100 feet from the church entrance.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: Two employees.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: One employee “received corrective action” and the other no longer works at the facility.
 
 
Staff evacuated the facility, which is located in a guarded federal building, when building officials conducted a fire drill. Ten minutes after the drill started, a building security guard noticed a child crying and alone in the facility’s fenced playground area. Staff had done a head count before leaving the building, but one child had not been signed in when he or she arrived for the day.
 
Responsible for maltreatment: One employee.
Disqualified from providing direct contact services? No
Remedy: Employees were retrained in counting children and double-checking the playground before leaving it.
 

 

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