State moves to revoke Kid's Country license Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Danville Weekly Online, on Jun 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm
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.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 2:59 PM
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm
I place nearly all blame on the children. If you see all your friends have gone, and you are the only one left on the playground. Time to go inside and join the others. You simply do not walk home.
At a elementary school in Danville, not one of the ones name, I knew a kid that would love to ditch Kid's Country in the afternoon after roll call and go home. He was also constantly getting in trouble at school.
His deviant behavior finally caught up with him, kicked out of high school as a freshman, now attending Venture High School.
You can have control measures, but a devious kid knows how to get around them.
Posted by Diane, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm
@Observer, two first graders being left on the playground and walking home is unconscionable and to surmise that they are "deviant" is just plain wrong. At that age, a child is unable to effectively consider a reasonable response to being abandoned by a care provider. Even if the 8 years olds willingly hid and walked home, the fault lies with KC - completely.
Erbe's statement does not impress me as someone who takes these instances seriously at all.
I hope SRVUSD can find a reliable organization to replace the KC programs that will be shut down - these parents and kids deserve a SAFE environment.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm
Why would two 8 year olds walk home, away from their afternoon care? In the case of the 3rd or 4th grader mentioned above, he was a punk, why should KC have to suffer in reputation? An 8 year old child is also old enough to know not to walk home alone. Where are the parents in their upbringing, have they not instructed their children wisely?
In my experience I have seen first graders spit and use the f-bomb against teachers, as well as walk where ever they please against teacher instruction. Ninety-nine percent of first graders are indeed angels, but there are some devils out there.
Posted by [removed], a resident of the Alamo neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm
As news researchers started collecting facts today, the reality is that politics are in place to promote a change to other providers. District actions have imposed restriction on current providers in political actions to support a change of service provider.
We must look at outside influences include YMCA political actions to fully understand this result and disruption of provider services. We must understand, as SRVUSD residents, what advantages to SRVUSD management is served by damaging the performance of a service provider.
Posted by Birdie Moten, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm
First of all I'm not a coward. My post will not be anonymous like the commenter blaming the children. As you can see I have chosen to use my first and last name. If the kids are at fault why don't parents just leave all their kid at home unattended. The reason they are at Kids Country is because they NEED supervision. The facilities should hire enough staff to properly supervise the kids. For Erbe to say nothing happened to the kids, is like saying no harm no foul. What if something did happen? What would his comment be? That only one or two or three of the kids were not harmed. Citing the number of attendance days is only an attempt at trying to use statistics to justify his lack competence in overseeing the program. I'm sure his salary is commiserate with the position of Director however his skill set is not.
Posted by Journalism, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 6:31 am
The author quotes an incident that was listed from a post as a credible source? Let's hope the state's investigative services are better than the writer's. If these facilities close-it will be devastating to several hundreds of families in our communities. While the incidents are unfortunate, they do seem like they are the exception and not the rule.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 6:34 am
What is the purpose of posted by "removed"? Are we to not know the identity of the poster? The speculation in the post done by "removed" is interesting. It sounds like a conspiracy theory that there is nefarious intent behind the complaints and an attempt to get another service provider in place for after school care. I doubt this is the case and complaints like this have to be investigated by the state to ensure the safty of all children.
Posted by Lauren, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 6:46 am
I want to know if the posters who are calling for the ousting of KC actually have kids enrolled in KC? If you don't-then your opinion doesn't count. Erbe's statistics are not being used as a band aid. They are the FACTS of the service provider. Kids' Country is SAFE, it is SUPERVISED, and it is RELIABLE. It is unfortunate that these few incidents have tarnished the entire organization and that the witch hunters are out to persecute KC. Erbe was right-it was fortunate nothing happened to the kids who strayed due to lack of supervision. If a six year old can't find the rest of the classmates at a KC-maybe they need a different type of after school care, but it doesn't mean the whole facility should be shut down because the staff moved the kids from one room to another.
These articles from DW have been full of wholes:
How long were the two first graders undetected? Did KC call and ask the parents about their attendance or did the parents come home to find them? Most 9 & 10 year olds actually do walk home from our school. When my child doesn't go to KC due to a playdate or sports practice, and I forget to call, I usually get a call within 15 minutes, did KC recognize the kids were missing and reach out the families? Not that that excuses the incident-but it CERTAINLY does't call for the closure of the facility.
Posted by Diane, a resident of the Blackhawk neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 6:47 am
I think a child care provider service should be held accountable for keeping track of children. I think what's not being addressed is why the kids wanted to leave. What's going on there and why would they would be trying to go home to get away? Why would they not just keep playing outside, or go inside?
Posted by Tina, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 7:23 am
Both of my children have attended Kids Country for a total of 8 years combined. I have never had any problems. My site is Vista Grande and the staff know and have always known where my children are. I have chosen to pick my up my son early at school and have forgotten to let them know and they are calling me soon after he was to arrive. I can speak for VG that the staff are fully engaged and have taken excellent care of my children.
Posted by Diane, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 7:59 am
@Observer, interesting that I addressed the two six year old children that walked home, and your response mentioned eight year old children. Developmentally, those two years are quite meaningful in terms of problem solving skills - eight year old children would have a better chance at an appropriate resolution to being abandoned by a care provider. Either way, a child walking away from a care facility because their absence was not immediately noticed is the fault of the care facility. The fact that in your posting you call these children "punks" says much about your judgment - I taught my kids not to call others names when they were babies. How old are you?
@Lauren, your comment "Erbe was right-it was fortunate nothing happened to the kids who strayed due to lack of supervision" says so much. As Birdie writes above, what would his response have been if one of these children had gone missing? As much as you would like to think that if we don't have a child at a KC site that our opinion doesn't matter, you are way off base. I know CDSS via professional association, and I know that they don't assign class A citations lightly. Perhaps your experience at KC has been good and for that I am grateful on your behalf. But to close your eyes to the safety violations that have resulted in their current situation is denial at its worst.
Citations are indications that the program needs to step it up in specific areas. They are not intended to result in the closing of programs unless improvements are not made. It is quite possible for KC to improve their standard of care for all kids (including those who may present a greater challenge) and remain in business. Either way, either a better KC or a better provider is likely to emerge - too bad several children had their safety compromised in order to achieve a higher level of care for all.
Posted by Revoke the license, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:29 am
The license should have been revoked when the first unattended and unsupervised child walked home. This child care operation has had multiple chances to get its act together, but has failed miserably.
Now some posters (I wonder how many are employees of this so-called child care operation) are blaming the victims, the children. Seriously, forgetting a child and leaving with the rest of the class to go to another location on campus?
Get these employees off of school campuses immediately. They have no business working with children.
Posted by collins, a member of the Vista Grande Elementary School community, on Jun 8, 2011 at 10:42 am
I am concerned about Observer's comment regarding Venture High School. This comment was prejudiced and ignorant, to say the least. Not all people learn in the same way. Alternative schools such as Venture and Del Amigo are not dumping grounds for "punks". They are good schools which provide a service to students who could otherwise fall through the cracks.
Posted by JR, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:15 am
KC has been LUCKY that the complaints filed are the only ones that the state knows about. So many complaints never make it to the state as parents pull their kids out when they have poor care. At 7-$12 per hour you should be able to have a one on one ratio but we all know that money matters. Less supervision equals bigger bucks for the KC (talkin') heads.
Enough with the crap program....it's just baby sitting service. Parents are trapped by having this monopoly at so many schools.
Posted by Lauren, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:33 am
THE CHILDREN WERE HIDING UNDER THE SLIDE AND DIDN'T COME IN WHEN CALLED. They did roll, and found them. Seriously witch hunters...get a life! For every one of these four violations-there are hundreds, if not thousands of times that KC's staff has done stuff right. The posts in support of KC are from PARENTS who support KC, not the workers. What's becoming obvious to me is that there is a different agenda emerging from organizations that would like to bust the KC "monopoly". All at the expense of the kids and the families.
Posted by Gates, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:42 am
Chris Erbe is an arrogant and ignorant person - I'm not at all surprised seeing his comment as such. While I hate to see all these sites being closed, Chris Erbe's ignorance and arrogance will not improve the situation
Posted by Mom of Two, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm
I am going to re-post this here, in case people didn't see it on the earlier thread. It is a shame that things like this are happening at Kids Country. Kids Country should be run better. I agree with what others have said about Chris Erbe being arrogant.
Since we are all getting things out in the open, you have to know one more thing about Chris Erbe. He has been trying to fire all of the older workers at Kids Country to save money. Pretty despicable.
Kids Country has many older workers. Most of them are ladies who came here from the Phillipines and have worked for Kids Country for 10 years or even longer. And they do a good job taking care of our kids. Because they have worked there for so long, they get paid more than brand new younger workers. Chris Erbe wants to cut costs. So he has been firing them, one by one.
It's against the law to fire older workers just because they earn more. But Chris Erbe doesn't care. He fires them. They sue Kids Country. Kids Country spends parents' money to settle those legal cases. Kids Country loses good workers. Our children lose good caregivers.
The board of directors is letting him get away with it. Who is the president of the board? Mrs. DeAtley? She should resign too. Not to mention wasting the parents' money on lawsuits and settlements. How much? Who knows. WE should know. After all, we are the ones paying for it through higher fees.
Posted by Sandi, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm
It was clever to call the child care facility Kids' Country rather than something like "Kids' Corral." All day group enclosures(school, after school) are not the best situation for self sufficiency and personal growth for young children. Ideally, they'd all be home helpin' Ma and Pa and learnin' age appropriate responsibility. But that is not 21st Century reality.
Two working parents need child care. I have no personal stake in the specifics of this KC debate. My interest is in best behaviors- always- as citizens and community members.
Let me be clear. I would have changed jobs, found a less fulfilling job(scratch the career), thrown out all probability of ever having a social life- anything rather than have sent my children to a group care situation.
BUT- no one should demand a quality of service from others at a level of performance they would not expect from themselves. How many people are performing THEIR jobs at highest level all day long? How many are using the company's time for personal email, shopping, errands, etc.? What tire store has not once improperly installed new tires? What surgeon has not made a regrettable mistake? Yeah. Plain human error. A police officer shoots a known criminal who threatens the life of the officer.... and there is a huge investigation. Care to venture where some of our tax dollars go.... constantly blaming others for not doing a job to our spectator specifications. Anyone who criticizes the quality of work of others ought to review their own work/ community ethic.
I seriously doubt the criticisms of KC have come from humans who have never made an error.
Always do your best- no matter what a tough day/night/week you have had. If you can't do your best, do not accept pay for the work you do that is less than the best.
Posted by Michelle, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 8, 2011 at 2:35 pm
Dear Chris Erbe haters,
Take your battle elsewhere. There is no link between Chris Erbe and these incidents. The logic is flawed. You all are playing politics with hard working families' lives. If an incident occurred with my kid, I would want KC to address it, learn from it, and work diligently to make sure that it doesn't happen again. I certainly wouldn't call for the closure of the service. All of the conspirators who are purporting theories about Erbe and funding and ex workers...I am not sure where your band wagon started-but get it out of my neighborhood. And take the news media with you.
The earlier poster who said this is a witch hunt is right. Leave our kids out of it! We, the parents of kids @ KC, were informed of the violations some time ago. This is old news. Move it along. Nothing to see here.
Posted by Maxter, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm
It would have been helpful to also include in the coverage for a well-rounded piece - options that are being considered to replace KC if in fact those locations are closed. My children attend Greenbrook and we have only had very positive experiences with KC and the wonderful staff there. Families definitely need a replacement if the sites are closed - and set up ready to go for the next shook term.
Posted by jamie, a resident of another community, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:00 pm
I've learned of KC through the news media (San Jose), I find all your comments very interesting, while it make for great reading (because of the back and forth bantering), one still needs to look at the whole picture. Even though parent(s) may stand behind KC, the fact remains that children/kids were left unattended weather due to children messing around or whatever the circumstance may be, the ultimate responsibility is that of the provider. Money is taken in exchange for a safe place to leave ones child. In reading all postings, I truly wonder how may of these are parents that do not have a disciplinary action/consequence for their children. One must take into consideration that an 8 year child has the capability of making decisions on his/her own, does not mean it is the right one. Therefore, parents leave them with providers whether it be a relative or facility, both are ultimately providers of a service regardless if being paid or not. Parents are left with no choice but to find some adult provider or face the possibility of being charge with child endangerment or neglect. Therefore, I strongly disagree with parents that think this issue is not of major importance to where the Dept of licensing should follow through with their intentions. Should they not do what the law requires them to do, they also may be held liable if something should occur in the future. With respect to the providers hired to perform a Service in exchange for a pay check should step up the pace. I have the experience of a working owner and have hired may teachers/caregivers and have truly seen where the workers are more interested in a pay check and conversing about their personal lifes, issues, drama or other it really makes no difference, the ultimately results are that our children get neglected. I look forward to the following of this story as here in SAN JOSE we are held responsible for our actions. Food for thought, had an Amber Alert needed be issued, would the parents that are commenting "we love Kids Country" still be sing the same praise. I truly believe that both employer n employee should be held accountable. Looking forward to following this story.
Posted by Jennifer, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm
@ Michelle. Why are you such a strong Erbe supporter? Have you attended a board meeting? Met with him in person and discussed the organization's goals and objectives? Are you a former employee?
The buck stops with the ED and frankly with the Board of Directors. Have you looked at who are members of the board? Maybe there needs to be a change? Do board members have an investment - such as their own children in the program? If not, then maybe they should MOVE ON.
Posted by Louise, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:26 pm
I'm wondering if this could be a political/personal witch hunt- with those families with school age children in need of afterschool childcare being caught in the middle. My Children both atteneded Kids Country for several years - it was a terrific program, and don't know what I would have done without this option - and would be very upset with everyone voicing an opinion with knowing little about the facts of each incident.
A question- Is it KC parents who are raising concerns to the state because they think these incidents mean there children are in danger,(and another company would provide safer care) OR is another company who wants the contract making the complaints? Does someone know? Hopefully, it's the informed parents who have the loudest voice here. Good luck!
Posted by Mom of Two, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 8, 2011 at 11:35 pm
If Chris Erbe isn't ultimately responsible for how well Kids Country runs, then why is he the Executive Director? Doesn't the buck stop there? At some point, the boss in any business has to step up and take responsibility for the successes and failures of the business.
If he can't accept that responsibility, maybe the board of directors should fire him.
Posted by Michelle, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2011 at 9:30 am
I don't know Chris Erbe @ all. Frankly, I could careless about him. As Tip O'Neill said, "All politics are local." The only thing I care about is how well my Kids' Country is ran-and I am extremely happy with it. I don't want to see one incident, that happened several years ago under the supervision of someone who was fired for it, ruin it for the rest of the families. It's BS. I don't care WHO the President of KC is...all I care about is that my kid, and the other kids at our KC are taken care of-and THAT they are. My agenda is THE KIDS AND THE FAMILIES....not the politics of the community at large...sorry if all the new KC's are not doing well. If something happened to my kid-I would deal with it, not force it on everyone else.
Posted by Frank, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:44 pm
@Michelle - clearly, the problem is these families HAVE tried to "deal with it". KC clearly didn't want to hear it or care. I don't see politics here, I see parents who care about their children and their safety and want to let other parents know...AND...someone needs to take ownership for these failures (clearly documented and continuing)...that ownership falls on leadership. Fact of business.
Posted by Outspoken, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm
All: See documented additional violation for Lack of Supervision from 2011...Not mentioned in this story or TV story to my knowledge.
Just how many violations will parents and the school board stand for? How many more are in Chris' closet? Keep racking them up KC, parents will continue to line up and jump on your waiting list no matter what! Seems nuts to me.
Posted by Diane, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm
I can understand the concern from parents who are satisfied with the care their children receive at their KC site. I would imagine the parents of the children who were left outside unattended also thought the care was wonderful; until it wasn't.
Community Care Licensing gave the most recent "A" citation on August 2010, and since then has been evaluating the previous citations as well as the records at each location - that is what they do. It is not fun to be on the receiving end of these investigations as they take time (which is why this is only now resulting in direct action) and it is a stressful process. For CCL, a governing body taxed with the responsibility of the safety of people in licensed facility care, to assign type A citations and ultimately threaten closure of all the KC locations - there must have been a great deal of concern for all children involved.
I have been involved in facility care (a different population) for over 20 years, and we have never had anything more than a class B citation from CCL. In other words, nothing ever compromised immediate safety. I cannot imagine any program receiving this many type A citations. The fact that the first instance didn't result in new regulations and (where necessary) replacement of staff across the board is exceedingly concerning.
Either way, KC will either get their act together and provide appropriate levels of care, or a new provider will be available - according to SRVUSD. It sounds like a win-win!
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 9, 2011 at 4:20 pm
@Diane - right you are. We trusted KC, with our most precious possession.
By the way, for those of you who are counting, and what a shame it is that we have to. The most recent violation was in February 2011. That now makes it FIVE Level A violations, the most serious. Unacceptable on all levels.
Posted by Paula, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm
I am a parent who removed her children from Kids Country at one of the schools cited, and I did so because of inadequate playground supervision (which I observed myself, on more than one occasion) and because of children leaving the facility and walking home by themselves. I have heard of other incidents in addition to the ones mentioned in the article, but this is unverified and second-hand. I disagree that the children who left were budding juvenile delinquents, as some posters have suggested, I feel they were confused by the lack of adult guidance and did the best they could in the absence of any authoritative guidance: they went home. I agree that replacing experienced personnel with younger, less experienced employees is a problem. I hope that Kids Country stays open, as it is the best option for many working parents, but I hope to see improved adult-to-child ratios, and more stringent procedures for tracking children between classroom and Kids Country as well as on the playground.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm
@Puala - I too pulled my child, despite what KC is saying publicly after our lack of supervision issues. There WILL be other options to all working parents (I am one) if KC is closed. One other option is The Growing Room (fabulous company, fabulous people). Parents should not be scared that there will be no options if they close, there will be. We should not have to stick with a poor performer out of fear, that is what they want. The district will have another provider to fill the gaps. There are already 2-3 in line. Also, Paula, thank your for turning the focus AWAY from blaming the children. Amazing how many are blaming the children.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm
@keeping perspective - Um, none. I do have a child that was enrolled with them this past year. That is it. I was speaking only of my experience with them. My main point is that there are other options out there for the district and for parents.
@observer - if you ever experience something like I have with the organization of all of this chatter, we shall see if you feel as if it is a mole hill.
Posted by Paula, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 12, 2011 at 7:10 am
Observer, I find your comparison of a parent losing track of their child in public to a childcare facility losing track of a child inapt. The purpose of the childcare facility is to keep track of, and keep safe, children. That is their reason for existance. Parents have many other duties that must be undertaken while keeping track of their children. Yes, inadequate supervision can be a problem from time to time for parents; but it should not be an issue for a childcare facility.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 12, 2011 at 8:04 am
Thank you for your comment. It should not be an issue for parents or childcare facilities, alike. If the only purpose of a childcare facility was to keep track of children, as you have stated, then we should just lock children up in a padded room without bathroom breaks until their parents arrive to pick them up after school. No playground, no field play, no organized games, no artwork, nothing.
Paula you have an absolutely warped sense of reality.
Posted by Paula, a member of the Greenbrook Elementary School community, on Jun 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm
Observer, you are assuming facts not in evidence (again). There was nothing in my post that implied children needed to be locked in padded rooms without bathroom breaks. Please remember this situation is relevant and important to many posters, and try to remain logical and rely upon facts instead of trying to be amusing with an irrelevant and insulting digression.
Posted by Birdie Moten, a resident of the Danville neighborhood, on Jun 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm
The state has regulations. If you are in violation, you are asked to correct. If you continue to have violations, You stand the chance of having your license revoked. Simple as that. So those of you talking about it's not that big of a deal, take it up with the state, THEY SEEM TO THINK IT IS A BIG DEAL!
Posted by Unknown, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Jun 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm
You never really know what happen unless you were there. Facts are skewed and not being reported correctly. The first violation in 2007, the child did NOT leave the campus. The child ran towards their grandparents not even a foot away from the gate. Yes, there needs to be additional precautions taken to insure the safety of children however each situation has its own story. Overall, the big picture the children at KC get opportunities to socialize with children in different age groups, get their homework done & get help when needed, do special projects, play sports/games, etc. Fix the supervision but don't close the facilities.
Everyone who is throwing the staff under the bus has never watched a group of grade school kids and had to deal with the everyday trials and tribulations that comes with it.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the San Ramon neighborhood, on Dec 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm
I am the teacher that was fired when 2 girls were hiding under the slide. I called role inside instead of outside. Big mistake. I had told the girls already not to go under the slide and they did it again. All I can say is KC is not a pleasant place to work. So many employees have been fired. It seems as if that is Chris Erbe's favorite thing to do. I know the company has lost a lot of money since he took over. Why is he not held accountable? The kids who were left unsupervised (and only for about 3 min) didn't want anyone fired over this. So I got fired and Chris Erbe told the parents of the 2 girls that they were no longer welcome at KC and kicked them out. I loved my job and was devastated over this. Now I am glad to be out of there but it is not run well at all.
Posted by Jennifer Allen, a member of the John Baldwin Elementary School community, on Apr 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm
Mary I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you. Kids Country has issues and they wronged you and took a good person and caregiver away from our children.
I would ask everyone who posted a comment to google Chris Erbe alcohol and you'll see the real reason why he had to leave Las Vegas. Why is someone with a list of improprieties, bad decisions, lack of empathy and leadership the Executive Director of a childare organization in the SF Bay Area? Is this the best we can do?
Again, why hasn't the Superintendent done anything to end this contract with such an irresponsible organization? There are plenty of other safe, reliable childcare organizations.
I sued this moron/KC for a series of violations to my children, and guess what? I won. I let the Superintendent know about what happened to us and the outcome when the law intervened. Why is Erbe still there? What is the political connection? Get him and his company out of SRVUSD. Honestly, what will it take? One of those little kids to be the next Jaycee Dugard? C'mon people! Make your voices heard to protect these little ones!