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‘Staff did not follow through’
Asked last week about the case, state officials said Traylor was dropped at an emergency shelter operated by Catholic Charities. But after the newspaper informed them there was no record of Traylor arriving at the shelter, officials issued a statement admitting his aftercare programming had fallen apart within hours of his release.
“Staff did not follow through,” the agency wrote. “Clients typically don’t go to homeless shelters because there is more time to arrange placements. The missed report in this case left little time to make those arrangements.”
It also appears that hospital officials failed to confirm Traylor’s care with Hennepin County; the caseworker assigned to his case was on vacation until mid-August, according to a message on his phone voice-mail.
Left on a street corner, Traylor tried to find a bed at the Harbor Light Center, where he had stayed before. Initially, he was denied entrance because his violent behavior had caused the shelter to issue a no-tresspass order against him some months earlier. But shelter officials reconsidered after meeting with Traylor and learning that he had been dropped off with no security plan in place.
The Salvation Army’s Miller said the shelter has now assigned a caseworker to Traylor to ensure he remains safe and gets his medications from the Hennepin County Medical Center. The shelter will also help Traylor find long-term housing, Miller said.
State officials acknowledged serious errors leading up to Traylor’s discharge, but deflected further responsibility — saying aftercare was largely the responsibility of Hennepin County caseworkers who had been alerted that Traylor was leaving the St. Peter facility.
Anne Barry, deputy commissioner of the Human Services Department, said the hospital should not have missed the deadline to file a progress report on Traylor, the breakdown that triggered his release. “It shouldn’t have fallen between the cracks, and as a result it didn’t get on the court calendar,” Barry said.
Still, she said the state does not consider Traylor a danger to the public if he is under care.
“If we thought there was a risk, if he was dangerous, we would’ve asked that he be recommitted,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve seen this happen since I’ve been here.”
Paul McEnroe• 612-673-1745