OWATONNA — An Owatonna woman’s child foster care and family child care licenses have been revoked by the Minnesota Department of Human Services after an infant death occurred in her home last November.
According to documents from the Department of Human Services, Joleen Anderson of Owatonna was found responsible for serious maltreatment or neglect of a child after Steele County Human Services, Rice County Social Services and law enforcement investigated an incident last year.
The documents state that on Nov. 15, 2013, Anderson placed an infant on its stomach with a blanket in a mesh-sided crib with a sheet that wasn’t tight-fitting. She then left the infant on the lower level of the home and went to the upper level, and left the infant’s supervision to another individual for about 15 minutes. When Anderson went to wake the infant about 30 minutes later, she found it face down and unresponsive. Anderson immediately began CPR and called 911, but emergency responders were unable to resuscitate the infant, and the child died.
Rice County Human Services determined Anderson failed to follow Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) reduction requirements when she placed the infant on its stomach in the crib, and she left the infant in the care of another individual, who was not an approved caregiver and didn’t have SUID and Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) training as required, the documents said.
On Nov. 18, 2013, the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services determined that the health, safety and rights of children in Anderson’s care were in “imminent risk of harm,” and her family child care and child foster care licenses were immediately suspended temporarily.
But because of these violations, the Department of Human Services revoked Anderson’s family child care license as well as her child foster care license — a license she shared with her husband, Michael — on Aug. 20.
Attempts to reach the Andersons for comment were unsuccessful.
Karen Smigielski, a spokesperson with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, said Joleen Anderson was licensed for family child care in November 2003 and licensed for child foster care in November 2010.
Smigielski said the Andersons have 10 days to appeal the license revocations. However, if they don’t, they will be disqualified from receiving licenses for seven years under state law.
But Anderson also has charges pending against her in Steele County District Court.
In June, Anderson was indicted by a grand jury in court on charges of child endangerment, including one gross misdemeanor and one felony. Because of the indictment, details on the proceeding are sealed.
Smigielski said if Anderson is convicted at the felony level, she would be disqualified from receiving child foster care and family child care licenses for 15 years, and if convicted at the gross-misdemeanor level, she will be disqualified for 10 years.
She added it is possible that the Andersons could be licensed again in the future, but it isn’t likely.
In an unrelated case in Steele County, the Minnesota Department of Human Services completed an investigation of Steven and Rita Dornquast Adult Foster Care in Owatonna and concluded neglect of an individual by staff and the facility.
According to a document from the Department of Human Services, on June 21 a “vulnerable adult” left the Dornquasts’ facility without supervision and was gone for about two hours before he or she was found by a community member who called 911.
Although facility staff weren’t disqualified as a result of the maltreatment determination, the Dornquasts were fined $1,000.