The four Kid's Country facilities threatened for closure by the California Department of Social Services are in limbo until a meeting between the day care center and state officials.
The date of the meeting is confidential, according to CDSS spokesman Michael Weston, who said at this point, the state is still seeking to close the four sites, at Country Club and Bollinger Canyon elementary schools in San Ramon, and Greenbrook and Green Valley elementary schools in Danville.
"When you get an accusation, the intention of the department is to take the license," Weston said. However, he added there are several different outcomes possible. Weston said the CDSS could close the four facilities, put them on probation or take no action.
Last month, Kid's Country Executive Director, Chris Erbe promised the facilities in San Ramon would not lose their licenses.
Erbe said Kid's Country is negotiating with officials from the California Department of Social Services (DCSS) and will agree to additional safeguards - safeguards he said were put into place voluntarily by Kid's Country before it received a license revocation notice from CDSS.
"They have no intention of shutting down Kid's Country. That was stated to us," Erbe said. He said a settlement with the state that would prevent the four locations from closing is expected before the end of summer.
According to the state's accusation, two first graders were left outside Kid's Country's Country Club Elementary site when the others were brought inside last August. The two walked home. The accusation also says 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 others 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 also says a similar incident occurred in September 2008 at Greenbrook Elementary, when two children, aged nine and 10, "left the school undetected and walked home."
Erbe said Kid's Country has taken steps to prevent any other youngsters from walking away from any of the 13 facility it operates, including the purchase of walkie talkies for all on-site employees.
He said Kid's Country is also removing assistant directors from child-care responsibilities, freeing them up to respond to trouble, and pointed out that the organization also has taken disciplinary actions - including suspending without pay or firing - against the worker involved in the incidents.
Erbe also noted that all of the incidents cited by CDSS were reported to the agency by Kid's Country itself.