The state is taking steps to shut down four sites of San Ramon Valley's child-care program Kid's Country.
The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is specifically looking to close Kid's Country facilities at Country Club and Bollinger Canyon elementary schools in San Ramon, and Greenbrook and Green Valley elementary schools in Danville.
A formal accusation from the state contains much of the same information reported here last week: that children were left unattended and in some cases left the child care centers and headed home.
However, the accusation also states that a similar situation occurred in April 2007 at the Country Club Elementary site. According to the accusation, Kid's County's executive director attended a conference with state officials in May 2007, where he "promised that staff would be stationed at the gate to prevent children from leaving the campus."
In addition, Kid's Country's curriculum director – whose name is not listed in the state accusation or the Kid's Country website – attended two conferences with state officials in April 2009 and March 2010, promising again to post staff at gates of all the facilities, and also promising "to have children gather for roll call, to document the roll call in writing and to perform the roll call every half hour."
Last August, two first graders were left outside Kid's Country's Country Club Elementary site when the others were brought inside. The two walked home.
That same month, two 8-year-olds were left on the playground without supervision at the Kid's Country site at Bollinger Canyon Elementary. The state accusation claims staff member "failed to follow school procedures in place and conduct a head count before returning to the classroom."
In January 2010, a 6-year-old was left alone in a bathroom at Green Valley Elementary while other s moved to a different classroom. According to the state accusation, the child "exited the campus and started to walk down the sidewalk on his way home."
The accusation says similar incident occurred in September 2008 at Greenbrook Elementary, when two children, aged nine and 10, "left the school undetected and walked home."
In addition, a woman posted on the Danville Express Town Square forum about an incident she said happened in February of this year, which led to another Type A violation, this time at the Kid's Country Coyote Creek facility.
In an emailed statement to the editor, Kid's Country Executive Director Chris Erbe noted that no harm ever came to any of the children who walked away from the facilities.
"In the past three years (the timeframe of the incidents) we have had over 500,000 student attendance days (a student attendance day is one student attending one day - we have 13 sites with over 1350 kids attending over 240 days in a year) and 3 incidents of students leaving our care and 1 incident of students remaining outside the classroom and we yet are being portrayed as lacking in care for the children," Erbe said in his statement.
However, from the state's perspective, Kid's Care has already had several chances to correct the problems.
"The department's main concern is to ensure the health and safety of children in care. Based on the serious nature of the violations, the department has taken action to revoke the licensure of these four specific facilities," said CDSS spokesman Oscar Ramirez. "The defendants do have appeal rights and they can challenge the action being taken by the department."