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Kids' Country May Appeal State Move to Revoke Day Care Licenses

Kids' Country has a chance to defend itself before the state takes any corrective action.

A Danville-based day care provider will appeal .

The California Department of Social Services filed a formal accusation against Kids' Country – under the nonprofit aegis of San Ramon Valley School Age Child Care Alliance – because of four instances where kids walked off campus, unsupervised. Those fell under the category of what's called a "Type A" violation – the most serious for a child care provider, according to Oscar Ramirez, spokesman for the state agency.

"They definitely have the opportunity to appeal," Ramirez said. "They can answer us and we can work something out. Maybe their licenses will get revoked, maybe there will be some lesser disciplinary action."

Kids' Country executive director Chris Erbe said the employees who lost sight of those kids at Bollinger Canyon, Greenbrook, Green Valley and Country Club elementary schools in San Ramon and Danville in those four cases were disciplined or fired.

"There were some very serious consequences," he told Patch earlier this week. "We take these things very seriously."

Kids' Country runs after-school child care programs at 13 of the 21 elementary schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. District spokesman Terry Koehne said there's never been a problem with the nonprofit in the 25 years its done business with San Ramon Valley schools.

"We're going to wait to see what comes of these allegations," Koehne said. "But we've had a very good relationships with them over the years."

In addition to the violations cited in the state's complaint, there was another Type A violation that occurred earlier this year.

In February, a 5-year-old girl with scissors cut her classmate's hair at Coyote Creek Elementary School. The three supervisors on site didn't know about it until the girl whose hair was cut let them know, according to papers filed by the state.

The state levied a $150 fine against Kids' Country and met with staff to talk about how to prevent that kind of thing from happening again.

Erbe said he disagreed with the state's assessment that time.

"Kids are going to misbehave," he said.

Fern Dahlstrom, whose daughter's hair got cut that day, said she's taken aback by what she called a dismissive attitude on Erbe's part.

Erbe told Dahlstrom that if she's unhappy with Kids' Country, she should stop doing business with them, Dahlstrom said. Erbe gave her until the end of February before canceling her contract, but Dahlstrom left before the month's end.

Now, she shuttles her daughter, who's since turned 6, to Live Oak for after-school care.

"I just didn't like Erbe's attitude," she told Patch. "He never once apologized for the hair-cutting incident. He just said right away, 'If you're not happy with our services, then leave.'"

Four violations are being used by the state as grounds to terminate the day care provider's license at four sites. But that doesn't mean there aren't more Type A violations on file, Ramirez said. He didn't have the number offhand, however. And he said he couldn't comment on how frequently other day care providers get cited.

Erbe told Patch on Monday that his company self-reports violations like those that led to citations. But some child care organizations may not do that, he said.

The company is required to inform parents of every Type A violation filed against them, according to Ramirez. Erbe said he has, in every case, shown parents the a copy of the citations.

"We have nothing to hide," he said.

Linda Van Deusen-Price June 10, 2011 at 03:26 PM
This is my granddaughter, we're talking about. The hair cutting is only one of several incidents which occurred at Kid's Country involving her. I can't imagine there aren't many more children who have been put in harms way, and these incidents were probably not reported or swept under the carpet. Thank God my granddaughter is now safe and sound! I am happy my son and daughter-in-law are verbal and persistent, because now these and other issues are out in the open.
Jordan June 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM
I've heard many parents complain about the poor supervision there. I figured it was only a matter of time before they got in trouble for it.
Judy June 11, 2011 at 05:59 AM
My daughters attend Kids Country at Coyote Creek and I have found the staff there to be extremely responsible and on top of things. They immediately contact me regarding any minor injuries and are excellent about communicating with me. I have only positive feelings about my children's experiences there.
sally June 11, 2011 at 03:20 PM
SALLY BANKS Don't forget about the independent babysitters. I do pick up & drop off---take kids to practices and their private lessons-help with their homework and keep a close eye on them !

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