Minnesota shuts down child care centers for chronic safety violationsState regulators have shut down three child care centers around the Twin Cities after finding chronic safety violations and an alleged scheme to falsify training records.
By: Associated Press report, Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS — State regulators have shut down three child care centers around the Twin Cities after finding chronic safety violations and an alleged scheme to falsify training records.
Deqo Family Centers, which were licensed to serve more than 100 children, allegedly failed to follow safe-sleep rules, supervise children or hire qualified staff, according to state investigators. The state will revoke the facilities’ licenses July 8 unless the facilities appeal, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
State investigators said they found more than 70 licensing violations at the facilities in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Apple Valley. The Star Tribune said the facilities’ owner, Yasmin Ali, did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages.
Jerry Kerber, the inspector general for the state Department of Human Services, said the agency had no choice but to take such action.
“They were out of compliance in some of the most serious areas of the regulations,” he said.
The company served many families in the Somali community. It had been running its Minneapolis site since December 2010 and its St. Paul center since September 2011, according to state records.
The violations identified this week weren't the first for Deqo. Its Minneapolis facility was fined twice last year after a series of violations involving failure to submit background checks on employees, according to state records.
The state also has investigated at least two allegations of physical abuse but found no evidence to confirm the claims.
Dakota County spokeswoman Gail Plewacki said the county stopped child care assistance payments to the facility as soon as local officials learned of the state's licensing action.
“As soon as they deactivate we can no longer make payments,” she said. “That's dictated by state law.”
In a letter dated June 20, Ali told her employees at Apple Valley they were being laid off. She said the center had to close down “due to circumstances out of its control.”