Deborah Eckland represented Jane Doe in an Indefinite Suspension and Revocation action instituted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (Stearns County). A young girl in Jane’s care had accused Jane’s teenage son of inappropriately touching her. The first Jane knew of it was when law enforcement arrived at her home with a Temporary Immediate Suspension Order and plans to interview her son.
After a series of missteps by Jane and heavy-handed tactics by law enforcement, DHS revoked Jane’s license. The “violations” centered around whether there was sufficient evidence of the son’s guilt to disqualify him, Jane’s alleged “lack of supervision” that resulted in the alleged touching, and Jane’s interference with the Commissioner’s investigation.
After four days of hearing spread over four months, the Administrative Law Judge determined the disqualification of the son should be rescinded, the Order of Revocation should be rescinded, and the Order of Indefinite Suspension should be rescinded. The Commissioner agreed, with the caveat that the Order of Indefinite Suspension would be rescinded after Jane completed additional training requirements. The Commissioner recognized that there was not a preponderance of evidence to support a determination of abuse; thus, the record could not support a supervision violation based on the alleged abuse.
The Commissioner also observed: “The Commissioner is persuaded by the testimony of numerous witnesses, including parents of persons served by licensee and a county social worker with whom Licensee has had a working relationship, that Licensee provided satisfactory care for the more than seven years that she was licensed to provide family child care. . . . This testimony and the lack of any evidence of prior noncompliance indicate that revocation may not be in the best interests of the persons served and may not be necessary to protect the health and safety of the children in care.”