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How Long Must a Minnesota Day Care Center Maintain Personnel Records?

By  Keith Kerfeld, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Building Block - M - Day Care CenterIn Minnesota, day care centers are only as good as the staff that they hire.  It is important that a day care center perform a background check, train, and otherwise supervise the staff members providing care to the children enrolled in the day care program.  Due to a lack of training, supervision, or just inaction, apathy, or lazziness on behalf of the child care provider, children are far too often injured while under the care of a Minnesota day care provider.   There are two major reasons why children are harmed while under the care of a day care center:  1. Improper Maintenance of the Day Care Center; and / or 2. Improper Supervision.   Let’s address the second reason:  Improper Supervision.

It is well known that children lack safety awareness and, at times, use poor judgment and reasoning while in the care of others.  It is not uncommon for a child to attempt to climb up a staircase, wander out of a facility, or playing with unsafe objects like scissors.   Because of this, it is vital that child care providers be on alert at all times and provide consistent, and constant supervision of the children being supervised by the day care center. When a child suffers personal injuries at a day care center, it may be the result of one or more individuals who fail to provide the necessary supervision for the protection of the children.  A civil case or claim can be pursued when a child suffers personal injuries.  Some personal injuries are minor and require minimal medical care and intervention.  Some personal injuries are catastrophic in nature and affect the child and family members for a lifetime.   Whether the injuries are minor or signifciant, there may be a case or claim to pursue.  As part of the civil case or claim, records can be obtained from the day care center.  Typically, litigation is required in order to obtain the personnel file for the employee at issue.  In other words, let’s say that the child is being supervised by a child care worker.  During free play on the playground, the child wanders away while the child care worker is texting friends on her mobile phone.  As a result of this inattention, the child wanders out of the facility and is hit by a vehicle.   If the above facts can be established through testimony and evidence, there seems to be a strong case against the day care center and its employee.  There is even a stronger case if the employee did not have the proper training to perform the job OR if the employee had prior incidents in which due to inattention and distraction – a child was injured.   This information may be obtained through documents in the personnel file for the employee.   This would assume that the facility documented prior incidents and / or reprimands of the child care worker.

In the State of Minnesota, day care centers are governed by Chapter 245A – Human Services Licensing, Minnesota Statutes. Pursuant to Section 245A.041 – Systems and Records, the following records must be maintained:

Personnel records must be maintained for a minimum of five years following the termination of employment.

Of course, the personnel records of the at-fault employee is just one piece of the puzzle to establish a claim or case for the personal injuries of a child.  If no personnel records are maintained or available, a case or claim can still be established.  For some cases, the lack of records that are required by law even help build a case.   It is just one more rule or regulation that is not being followed by the facility.  Of course, if the day care center is unlicensed and operating under the radar, there is no telling what documents (if any at all) are maintained by the day care center.

When a child is injured in a Minnesota day care center, a parent should contact a Minnesota Child Injury Lawyer for advice, guidance, and legal representation.  The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Playground Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury

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