State temporarily suspends license of Northland child-care operationThe license of a family child-care operation in Iron has been temporarily suspended while St. Louis County officials investigate unspecified allegations.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The license of a family child-care operation in Iron has been temporarily suspended while St. Louis County officials investigate unspecified allegations.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services suspended Janet Schroeder’s license effective Saturday, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the department’s website.
The department’s letter to Schroeder cited a report received by the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department and an ongoing investigation by that department and by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department.
“Due to the serious nature of the report under investigation, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department cannot ensure the safety of the persons served in your program,” the letter stated.
Citing the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, the letter said no other details would be released while the incident was under investigation. Schroeder has five days to appeal the suspension.
Reached at her home, Schroeder declined to comment.
Susan Sauls, supervisor of family daycare units for the county Health and Human Services Department, said she couldn’t comment on the nature of the investigation. Once the temporary suspension is issued, the agency has 45 days to complete its investigation. “We try to do it as quickly as possible,” Sauls said.
Schroeder first was licensed to provide care for up to 10 children in her home at 9613 Townline Road in September 1999, according to Beth Voigt, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services. The current license expires Sept. 1.
The department has not issued any previous licensing sanctions against Schroeder, Voigt said.
Last year, the Department of Human Services issued 95 temporary immediate suspensions, and 91 were issued in 2010, Voigt said.
Schroeder’s is one of about 11,500 family and group family child-care homes in Minnesota, according to the Department of Human Services. Another 1,600 child-care centers usually are located in nonresidential settings.
But Schroeder’s is the only licensed child-care facility in Iron.
Elizabeth Cooper, communications director for the nonprofit Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, said the sudden loss of child care can be particularly difficult for families in rural areas.
“I certainly think these issues become particularly complex and particularly desperate when the population is so small that there are not many options,” Cooper said.
Parents seeking child-care options or looking for tips on how to bridge the gap when a facility closes can call the agency at (888) 291-9811, Cooper said. It is staffed during normal business hours. Information also is available on the agency’s website at mnchildcare.org.