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Minnesota day care loses license after 3-year-old went missing for hour

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Minnesota officials have revoked the license of a home day care in Brainerd after a 3-year-old wandered away and was not reported missing for an hour.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services revoked the license of Susan Caird after finding her responsible for child neglect in the incident. Caird is the owner of Krafty Kids Kare, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State.

An order of revocation drafted Friday by DHS details an Oct. 4 incident, when the Brainerd Police Department received a call reporting a small child was walking alone in southeast Brainerd. Officers responded at 4:47 p.m. when they met with a community member who'd noticed the child and called police. That location is more than one-quarter of a mile away from the day care.

Unsure where the child belonged, the officers brought the 3-year-old back to the police station. At 5:45 p.m., nearly an hour after the child was found by police, Caird called to report the child missing. This was five minutes after the day care provider called the child's parents, the order addressed to Caird stated.

"The parents were not available at the time you called," the order stated. "You called again a few minutes later and told the parent that the child was missing from your child care program. You stated that the child was noticed missing from your child care at 5:15 p.m., but you did not contact the police until approximately 5:45 p.m. At approximately 5:50 p.m., the parent contacted police, who stated that the child was at the police station."

Caird's license was temporarily suspended the day after the incident, pending investigation. Caird appealed the temporary suspension, although the suspension was affirmed by DHS in a Dec. 19 order. In a Feb. 23 letter, Crow Wing County Community Services notified Caird she was found responsible for maltreatment in the form of neglect of a child in her care. Caird did not exercise her right to request reconsideration of the maltreatment determination, the revocation order stated.

The decision to revoke the day care license was done "in order to protect the health, safety and rights of children receiving services in DHS-licensed programs."

Minnesota law states a license holder shall forfeit a $1,000 fine for each determination of maltreatment, although the revocation order noted because the agency was revoking the license, a fine would not be assessed.

Caird has the right to appeal the decision within 10 days after the revocation notice is received.

Krafty Kids Kare was licensed for a capacity of 14 children, with no more than 10 of those under school age. Of those 10, no more than four were allowed to be infants or toddlers, and no more than three of those could be infants. The original business filing for the day care was submitted in April 2008.

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