St. Cloud Children’s Home Staff Member Cited After Leaving Suicidal Teen Unsupervised
ST. CLOUD - A St. Cloud Children's Home staff member has been cited after an incident where a teen resident on "risk status" for suicide attempts was left without supervision in a room at the facility.
An investigative memorandum from the Minnesota Department of Human Services says the incident happened on May 19th.
The alleged victim was a 14-year-old who was admitted to the facility in December 2014. They were hospitalized multiple times for suicidal behavior between October 2014 and May 2015, including once four days before the incident happened. The person had a documented history of wrapping garments around their neck and jumping into traffic.
On May 19th a staff member took the alleged victim to a "calming room" to take a break. The teen asked for the lights to be turned off and was left in the room while the staff member remained in the hallway outside.
The staff person said at the time, they could not see the alleged victim, but could hear inside the calming room. The staff person said "I figured I'll be right outside the door, if I feel the need to check on [him/her] I can poke my head in the door or flip on the light...But I didn't hear anything concerning enough to look in or flip on the light switch."
After 5-10 minutes, the teen was found with a sweatshirt wrapped around their neck and around the leg of a desk. The teen was alert but not responding when found by staff and was returned to scheduled activities 10 minutes later.
The facility completed an internal review after the incident. The staff person responsible for the alleged victim was not disqualified from providing direct care services. However, they were notified that any further act of maltreatment would automatically disqualify them in the future.
The maltreatment finding is subject to appeal by the staff member. Catholic Charities communication coordinator Trina Dietz says the report was accurate and that it's a reminder for them to always re-review policy and procedures.
"We work with some difficult kids and even a momentary lapse of judgement can have an impact. We will continue to review staff rules and policies in the future."