Little Falls day care shut down after 2-year-old found wandering on street

Staff Writer

A Little Falls day care operator has had her license revoked after a young child left her home and walked down Lindbergh Drive South in April.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (MNDHS) revoked the license of Stacy Ganz of Little Falls, July 24, under the recommendation of Morrison County Social Services.

According to the order of revocation issued by MNDHS, the decision is based on an April 24 incident, when a member of the community found a 2-year-old child running down the street.

When the community member took the child back to Ganz’s home, another child allegedly answered the door and said Ganz was locked in her bedroom and the community member called 911. Ten minutes after the community member arrived at the home, Ganz came to speak with them.

According to the report, Ganz told investigators she had been in the bathroom when the community member came.

Ganz told the Record the child had left the home when another child was leaving for the school bus.

When she realized the child was not in the home, she went out to find him and located him with a person living near her home.

Ganz said the child had walked down the sidewalk, not the middle of the road in an interview with the Record.

The report said this had been determined to be the third time the child had left the home unsupervised.

Ganz told the Record that at her previous home she had installed a baby latch near the top of the door, but had only been at her new location for a few days when the child got out.

When Ganz spoke to Morrison County Social Services, she allegedly appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance, the report said. A hair follicle test confirmed she had used controlled substances within the previous 90 days, the report said.

The test was not conclusive Ganz told the Record, and she had not seen it. She said she had previously been on prescription medication, but said she was only tired and stressed out when investigators spoke to her.

Ganz’s license was temporarily suspended April 25.

“The Commissioner of the Department of Human Services determined that the health, safety and rights of children in your care were in imminent risk of harm,” the order said about the temporary suspension, which was not appealed by Ganz.

The order goes on to allege that Ganz was found sleeping when children were brought to the home for care, failed to complete chemical dependency tests ordered by Social Services and that on one occasion she had contacted parents of one of the children she was caring for, seeking prescription pain medication.

Ganz said the talk about the pain relievers had been a passing conversation after she had a bad back, and no drugs were ever given to her.

Morrison County Attorney Brian Middendorf said according to Minnesota statute, to prove child endangerment as a crime, it would need to be shown that Ganz had controlled substances in her possession while caring for children.

Because no controlled substances were found, and the hair follicle test can’t prove she took controlled substances while a child was present, his office did not pursue criminal charges.

Middendorf said his office has been working with Social Services to shut down the facility.

Ganz said she is choosing not to file an appeal of the revocation, and is working to get her own children back.