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Kid's Country facilities won't be closed, exec director says

Original post made on Jun 9, 2011

Four Kid's Country facilities in San Ramon and Danville will not be losing their licenses, according to the organization's Executive Director, Chris Erbe. In a lengthy interview, Erbe said Kid's Country is negotiating with officials from the California Department of Social Services (DCSS) and will agree to additional safeguards

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 9, 2011, 4:47 PM

Comments (28)

Posted by Dan, a resident of Danville
on Jun 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Win/Win situation. If parents are still outraged-take your kids out and put them somewhere else. It is a free country.


Posted by Danville mom, a resident of Danville
on Jun 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm

People who want to know more about Chris Erbe should google Chris Erbe school prinicpal (the Review Journal Las Vegas, 1998). He is a pompous man who thinks he is above reproach. For him it is the bottom line, $$, not the children and families that matter.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Danville
on Jun 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

KC posted their 2010 income tax returns and lost more than $700,000. Although these times are difficult, where is the oversight? It certainly explains why our fees have increased these past few years. Whar exactly is Mr. Erbe doing then?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Jun 9, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Well, for someone who is all about the bottom line, Erbe has not done very well on Kids' Country's finances, has he? Erbe says that enrollment has been going up. And he's been charging higher rates each year (with a big increase announced for next year). Yet, Kids' Country still loses more than $1,100,000 over the past three years. Yikes!


Posted by Mark , a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 7:15 am

Hey Dan... You say it is a free country and to go somewhere else. Where else can we go? Kids Country is our only option. So Dan, where do you send your kids other than Kids Country?
And I agree with others about KC only being about their bottom line. I have never felt they are about the kids. It is all about making sure we pay our money. I understand they are a business and need to make money. Stop treating their customers as a bank account and start treating us like customers and people.


Posted by Rebecca, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 10, 2011 at 7:36 am

I was able to pull this information from the Kids' Country website. Here is a listing of board of directors. Not sure when or how often they meet and I don't believe I've ever seen the agendas posted at my childrens' site.

Loucy DeAtley, President, William Miller, Vice President

Beth O'Rell, Secretary, Evelyn Wang, Board Member

Jerome Bellian, Board Member, Camille Bibeau, Board Member



Posted by Outspoken, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 10, 2011 at 7:56 am

Board members don't care. But you can always try.

Parents will keep lining up (as the poster above points out, other choices are pretty nonexistent)and as Erbe is quick to point out, there is a waiting list.

Parents need to stand up and demand better. Better staff, better leadership.

Let's stop accepting sub par care for our kids.

Any violation is unacceptable in my book. Why are there only a few parents that feel this way? And why do posters continue to blow this all off and blame the kids? (See previous articles and comments.)

It's like everyone is brainwashed.


Posted by Mark, a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

Waiting list? That is a joke! There is only a waiting list because they keep cutting back their staff.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 10:08 am

Kids Country is a non-profit that serves the community and which should be responsive to the community. Why should the parents continue to accept sub-par management and be forced to subsidize the rising costs of bad management decisions (whether from Mr. Erbe or the board)?

We need to find out when their board meeting are and have interested parents show up. Board meetings of non-profits are open to the community. Notices and agendas must be publicly available.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

Steve - I looked at their tax return too. It says they spent $129,521 on travel last year, and another $47,834 on conferences, conventions, and meetings. Seriously? Where does a local child care organization need to travel to? This is what our monthly tuition is being spent on? Outrageous!


Posted by Bollinger Mom, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

Say what you want about Chris Erbe and the way he runs the organization, but I have always felt that the staff at our individual campus cares about my child. They treat my daughter as I would want them to, practically thinking of her as family after the 4 yrs she has been there. I don't like the higher fees, and I also don't feel I have much choice on where she can go, but I have never felt that she was in jeopardy there. The incidents are unfortunate, to say the least. I know I am one of many parents who are not blowing this off, as Outspoken wrote above, but give the kids a little credit that they know the rules and they willfully broke them in staying outside when called into the classroom, or walking home when they are well aware that they cannot leave until a parent is there and signs them out. The fact that they were not caught sneaking off is the issue. Even with all the supervision in the world, there still has to be some expectation that the children will follow the rules for everyone's safety (and parents should be communicating that, too). Should they all just be locked in the building the whole time to avoid any possible future issues? I hope not.


Posted by SALLY, a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Mark

You asked where else you can go. Try an independent babysitter. I do pick up and drop off plus take kids to their sport practices also help them with their homework. We are out there !


Posted by Dan, a resident of Danville
on Jun 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

There are other after school care programs. Kids' Country is the most convenient. You could also post an ad on Craigslist to find someone, or use a nanny service. There are always options.

I am so tired of everyone making this about the Board. Obviously KC had to play the heavy to collect fees from families. At first, it bothered me too, but I get it. There's no difference from the changes they have made than to what you deal with at every service provider (dr's office, hair salon, etc). Why does it bother you when it comes to paying for your child's care?

Bollinger Mom has the most sensible post I have read through all of the posts. She wrote how my family feels about our KC. If my kid were victimized, injured, or neglected at Kids' Country, I'd pull him out. All of these incidents are unfortunate, but they do NOT make the whole system bad. Every time someone writes about the money or Erbe, it discredits the entire safety argument. Our son's KC is full of staff.


Posted by Pedal Power, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Bollinger Mom nailed it.


Posted by Member, a resident of Danville
on Jun 12, 2011 at 10:54 am

PARENTS - DON'T LET KID'S COUNTRY/CHRIS ERBE TELL YOU THERE ARE NO DAYCARE ALTERNATIVES!

Of course there are! SRVUSD created a parent-driven child care system. Talk to other parents. Talk to your principal. Talk to school board members.

They all are listening. Everyone sees the problem of dealing with an agency on probation for such serious violations. And probation is the best those four locations of Kid's Country can hope for. Of course there are alternatives -- the school district must guarantee the safety of each child. And I believe they will find a good way to do that.

Chris Erbe and Kid's Country works for you -- you can fire him/them if their actions merit that. Erbe would like you to think his agency is too big to fight -- it is not -- the school disctrict considers these things on a school-by-school basis. Look into it -- you'll see I'm correct and I'll be checking into things at my school.


Posted by member, a resident of Danville
on Jun 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

Dan,

You're pretty groovy. You don't mind price hikes or that KC has committed serious violations regarding the safety of children.

Is your last name Erbe?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 12:50 am

Kids' Country is heavily subsidized by the school district (in other words, by our tax dollars). They are charged only a nominal rent for the school land where their buildings are.

So, we should have a say in how Kids' Country serves the community. Chris Erbe and the Board of Directors may think that it's entirely up to them how it's run. By it's not. They are just the temporary caretakers of this community asset. We should demand that it is run better.

If they think that they can continue to make up for huge losses (caused by excessive and unnecessary spending) by jacking up the price charged to parents, they better think again.


Posted by Paula, a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jun 13, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I've posted previously, I removed my child from KC due to the inadequate supervision issue. I liked the staff, I felt they liked my child, and I felt they weren't doing their jobs well enough. I've stayed at the school playground afterschool with my kids, and often times I have seen KC attendees leave the area without the supervising staff noticing missing children, even when the KC children return to their building. While I might reasonably expect a ten year old to know they are supposed to stay in a certain area, the level of awareness of personal responsibility varies considerably with younger children, and it is the job of the staff to keep track of the children - I'm with Bollinger Mom on that one. Maybe KC needs more staff, or more experienced staff. I wouldn't want to see the licenses revoked, but there needs to be change to prevent future problems.


Posted by Agree w/Paula, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Paula,

I have seen the same problem with the other afterschool programs in our district, not just Kids Country. I really don't think Kids Country should therefore be singled out. Since the same problem does exist with the other afterschool programs perhaps the problem is with the kids.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

@Paula, holding 6-year old children responsible for getting separated from their care providers and walking home is unreasonable. They don't have the benefit of a completely developed brain, that quickly sorts choices and ranks them based on previous experiences. By saying that the same problem exists with other after school programs and suggesting a "what more should we expect" attitude, we are dumbing down a resource that is there to engage and (more importantly) protect our children.

Not adequately supervising children can result in a tragic outcome, and luckily CCL is aware of this and has assigned appropriate citations, on several occasions, to KC. Unless parents demand better than the status quo, their kids will be at risk.

I wouldn't be willing to take that chance. KC would either need to develop a new plan for how they will make sure these issues never arise again - and provide that plan to me in writing, or I would be looking elsewhere.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 3:44 pm

@Paula - I apologize! I meant to address the above comment to
"Agree w/Paula"!


Posted by Agree w/ Paula, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Diane,

I agree with Paula. There have been reported incidents at the Growing Room, another SRVUSD afterschool child care center chain, Golden View, Hidden Hills, Live Oak, Neil Armstrong, Tassajara Hills, and Twin Creeks, whereas parents have considered removing their children. I was just saying that given the frequency of the problem it may not be entirely right to hold the Growing Room and KC completely responsible for the mishaps. The older children do know right from wrong, especially when they are disobeying adult child providers.


Posted by Diane, a resident of Danville
on Jun 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm

@Agree w/Paula, for many years I have worked in a program that has oversight from CCL (we've never had a class A citation). I would be inclined to investigate whether the programs you listed have had the frequency of citations that KC has had. Maybe it is just me, but I trust the judgment of a non-biased party that is charged with the task of evaluating the quality of the program being provided.

If, in fact, the other programs you list have also had multiple class A citations (and I highly doubt that is the case) then maybe the good parents of this area should form a co-op, as the providers would clearly be falling short.

I agree with you that older children should know not to purposefully hide from care providers - though I don't know if this is what happened. Some kids can be a major challenge, no doubt. The adults that are charged with providing a safe environment need training and tools to effectively supervise all children in their care. Maybe this will be the outcome of the current situation.


Posted by Member, a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

No -- the other facilitites have NOT been written up for Type A violations -- you can call the licensing agency yourself if you don't believe me.

I have monitored this and San Ramon Express blogs carefully -- you can tell when a comment is planted by Chris Erbe of KC -- it always blames the child, the parent, the licensing agency or refuses to admit the charges are serious -- has anyone heard him say KC blew it and needs radical changes to guarantee the safety of the children. Tell your school board members you don't trust him. A comment written on the other blog refers to a concerned parent as a "drama mama" -- is that how KC sees parents? It seems to me it is. Maybe Kids Country needs to be run by someone with daycare experience.


Posted by Identical MO, a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

@Member: The Growing Room afterschool program is just perfect, absolutely no problems dispite what parents of the program have been reporting for a sustained period of time. The state should though investigate the Growing Room. There are no better than KC, both programs have the same problems.


Posted by frank, a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

@member. Why are you not using your real name? Clearly you have some problem with Chris Erbe and want to slam him, but are afraid to say who you are. Your weird obsession with him is impacting other happy parents who like Kids country. Our site is nationally accredited and our kids love the staff. How can their be nationally accredited sites that are better than any others in the US and yet other sites that are getting class A violations?? This doesn't make sense with the same management. Get a job or do something useful with your life.


Posted by Lisa, a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 11:35 pm

According to staff, the board meetings are usually held the third Wednesday of the month at KC offices - which are located on Town and Country address in Danville. The meetings begin at 7:30pm. This means there should be a meeting on June 15th. I hope that parents attend and listen to the board and what decisions are made. If the meeting is cancelled or rescheduled, that would be a shame. I also hope the media is there to observe as well. We need to be proactive, have a voice and hold these folks accountable. They are not elected board members.


Posted by Jenn, a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Has anyone heard any further news about the licensing issue? I seem to recall a follow up article that states the sites were not cleared yet. I hope they have been.


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