COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (FOX 9) - A 25-year-old woman is charged after she allegedly ran an unlicensed home day care in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The Washington County Attorney's Office is also suing to shut down the day care, where police found at least 17 different violations.
According to the attorney's office, the lawsuit is one of the first of its kind filed in the state and "uses the contempt powers of the court to prevent providing future unlicensed child care."
Back in February, Cottage Grove police responded to a report that 25-year-old Megan Martin was providing unlicensed child care in her home. Officers searched Sitter.com and found an ad posted by Martin.
When they executed a search warrant at her home, officers discovered Martin had 12 small children in her care. Police found a room with three children still strapped into their car seats with blankets draped over them.
Authorities also discovered at least 17 different licensing violations Martin could have been cited for if she had a license. For example, Martin did not have any working smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors in the home. They also found uncovered cat feces in the home.
In addition to the violations, police detected an odor of alcohol from Martin, and a preliminary breath test yielded a result of .12 blood-alcohol content. According to the attorney's office, the woman admitted to providing a child care center for approximately five years and stated she had actively avoided obtaining a license.
The Washington County Attorney's Office is working with the Department of Human Services to get a court order to prevent Martin from giving child care to any children other than her own.
Martin is charged with child negligence and providing a residential program without a license.
“There are hundreds of competent, caring licensed childcare providers,” said County Attorney Pete Orput. “It is abhorrent there are those who choose to ignore the laws intended to protect our children. I encourage parents and grandparents to use public resources to determine if your childcare provider is properly licensed.”