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Kids' Country Crisis

Original post made by Dave, Danville, on Jan 28, 2011

What is going on at Kids' Country? I heard it lost half of its board of directors last week? Anybody have any information on this?

Comments (35)

Posted by Jessica Lipsky
a resident of Danville
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I called Chris Erbe, their executive director as well as friends who work there, but no response yet.

Stay tuned!

Jessica Lipsky

Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2011 at 11:03 am

Does this have anything to do with all the license violations, for stuff like kids wandering away from kids country without the teachers knowing they were gone? I think this happened more than once.

I hope they don't lose their license. I would like to know more about this.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Greenbrook Elementary School
on Jan 30, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Our KC runs a tight ship. We haven't received any notification (this year or last) about any violations.

Posted by Rachel
a resident of Danville
on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:12 am

And how many lawsuits for discrimination have their employees filed against them in the past couple years? Why does my kid's tuition have to get spent on that?

Posted by Steve E
a resident of Danville
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:42 am

Have they looked into how much money their top level execs make? Their scam might be one that shows as a non profit oversight group really funding the top folks. SRVUSD has really supported a for profit organization for years. Their behind the scene dealings have gone unreported for one reason only perhaps--payoffs to district employees.

Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Feb 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

Parent - I checked for myself with the state licensing agency and guess what? Greenbrook had a violation in 2009 for having a child leave the site.

Why weren't we told about these violations? As a parent myself I would want to know this.

Posted by School director in Danville
a resident of Tassajara Hills Elementary School
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

I can only speak to actions rather than words. In the recent past, I have been inundated with resumes from employees of Kids Country looking for jobs. I understand there may be some resentment within the ranks at Kids Country, but there is also some truth in their conversations with me during job interviews. These comments focused around lack of supervision, lack of attention, and general dissatisfaction with site directors. So I can understand that this is now being examined in the light of day. I think Kids Country should be relieved of duties at these school sites for the safety of the students.

Posted by Beth
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 7:43 am

My child has attended the Creekside location for 1 1/2 years now, since they opened. I have had nothing but a positive experience there. The Director has been completely on the ball; she pays attention to every little detail with the kids and safety is their first concern. The staff has always been wonderful with my child and very friendly with me. I feel 100% comfortable when my child is with them. I think others with positive experiences should speak out, as Kids' Country is doing a fantastic job with their program. I feel very fortunate to

Posted by Very Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:15 am

Don't get me started! Our daughter started at KC this past Aug and we have had a HORRIBLE experience with them.

In the first week of school the teacher walking the kids over to the Kinder classrooms left them there ALONE before the Kinder teacher opened the door. I called the main office and spoke to some one while I was in TEARS about my daughter's safety. There was also a time where no one seemed to know where in the building she was when I came to pick her up.

I wholeheartedly echo the previous poster's comment about a consistent lack of supervision, awareness and attention to safety issues. Along with the complete unwillingness to listen to feedback and try to improve practices.

This week another child cut my daughter's hair!! There were THREE teachers in the room at the time. Help me understand how this happened??!! It could have been her cheek, her eye, her ear...The other child was suspended for a day from KC but AGAIN how does something like this happen? Where were the teachers??

We have complained to the site director as well as the main office about a series of issues with this site. Only to be blown off and spoken to rudely and unprofessionally. No one believes there are issues. No one cares. We were even encouraged to find care elsewhere! (Why? Because we try to bring issues to light??)

I wish I could quit my job and pull my daughter out, believe me. We unfortunately have no other options for care. Our hands are tied and We hate it.

I sincerely hope that Kids' Country can get their act together before someone gets hurt.

Posted by PB
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

Dear "Very Concerned Parent". I hear your upset and would feel the same if that happened to my child. As a working parent, don't you have other options? Hmmmmm, maybe there needs to be a privately run after school care....

Posted by O L Gomer
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:57 am

VCP: I hope you will forgive my candor (okay, officiousness), but I have difficulty squaring your hysterical tone with your concluding shrug regarding your presumed lack of options to KC.

If you would devote the energy found even in just your punctuation, I'd bet you could find several such options -- a HS student, an oldster, a non-working parent whom you could compensate, a nanny, etc.

And while I'm on my own rant, here's an NPR blurb on the deleterious health effects of too much worry about squeaky cleanliness of our offspring, just because I'm concerned it might also apply: Web Link

Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:16 am

O L Gomer - Your rant has nothing to do with the bottom line. There is NO supervision, NO caring and an obvious lack of wanting to improve the situation at Kids Country. Your options are not options for many parents. Many parents want licensed care givers, not a high school student or oldster to care for our children. By the way, if you were not so focused on trying to insult others on things like punctuation, you might have taken the time to ensure the link you provided was correct. Not sure what the Oakland A's schedule has to do with child care. The issue here is that Kids Country is an organization that is being ENDORSED by SRVSD - KC does not CARE what parents think, tries to hide any complaints and thinks they are perfect. They are running huge risks with the welfare of children. Unfortunately, from experience, I can tell you that the executives of the company do not care either. They all have their had buried in the sand. Trust me, I am researching other options and will jump at the opportunity to dump this nightmare of a company.

Posted by VCP
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

I would jump on a private after school care program in a minute.

Posted by O L Gomer
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:34 am

Here ya go, ACP/VCP: Web Link

And Go A's!

Posted by Beth
a resident of Sycamore Valley Elementary School
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:38 am

We've had a very good experience with our KC at Sycamore Valley Elementary. I've noticed a lot of differences at each campus, though...we've been to other campuses for winter breaks and spring breaks. I think one's experience is very much affected by the site director.

Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:42 am

Thanks OL Gomer...I fail to see any link to lack of supervision and/or cutting of hair by another child has anything to do with allowing my children to get dirty. Sorry. You lost me on this. My question now is, will Kid's Country do anything to assure their customers that the organization and it's leadership are stable and really care about their customers.

Posted by O L Gomer
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:15 am

ACP/VCP: Generally hysterical parents are often specifically over-concerned with hygiene, in my (ample) experience.

And since you won't let go of this ol' bone, I would simply note that dissatisfaction with services rendered, licensed or otherwise, is not the same thing as "hav[ing] no options." Licensure may be a convenient proxy for due diligence, and I agree it ought to convey a sense of standards, but it is not The Only Way to ensure that your own particular standards or needs are met.

Railing against your provider is one way to spend your time -- it might even work. You might also consider, though, investing it in actual thought about alternatives that will both serve your kid's interests and send a vote-with-your-feet economic message that your tormentors will understand.

Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

OL Gomer - Wow. Nice way to pigeon-hole people. I can assure you that I am NOT in your small world of people that you are trying to put me in. I also think it is presumptuous that you think that I am not doing anything else ensure my children's best interests are met. I also think it is a bit presumptuous that you know everyone's circumstances (financial, personal, etc.) For some, it really is the only choice they have. This string is a way for other parents to share their experiences and finally find others who are feeling the same way. Yes, it feels good to vent. It also feels good to find others who share our experience. It also provides me with more information that I can continue to share with the directors, our site director, etc. This is not the only action/venue I am using thank you very much.

Posted by O L Gomer
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

Good luck to you, Mama -- and especially to your kid.


Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:42 am

O L Gomer - Over/out as well. I am actually a DaDa and darn proud of it...I don't need your luck for me or my children thank you.

Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 10:50 am

Jessica L - Did you ever hear from Chris? I am curious to know if anyone ever responded to you. Thank you.

Posted by Creekside Dad
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:26 am

Beth, I have to agree with you. I also have a child that attends Kids Country two days/wk at Creekside. We have been very happy with the staff and the director. We moved from a school in San Ramon with a different after school program, and we are MUCH happier with Creeksides Kids Country. It may be very different at other schools, but I think the staff at Creekside is doing a great job!

Posted by danville mom
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Feb 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm

We have been using Kids Country since 2003 and it has been an extremely positive experience for our family.

Whenever I have an inquiry or issue that I need to discuss, both our site and the main office have been nothing but pleasant, courteous and extremely responsive. In our 7 1/2 years, there was only one problem at the site (2009 - it was not Greenbrook); both the main office and the site were forthcoming and addressed it with all of our parents immediately - it was also rectified right away. They do take
take the safety of our children very seriously.

My oldest child went through both the after school and summer camp program and never had a complaint; I have a younger child currently attending the after school program - he loves it so much, he asks to go to Kids Country, even when we are home for the afternoon! The staff has always worked hard to make it a fun experience for the kids - they are cognizant that no one wants to have their kids in after school care, so they focus on making it enjoyable and active.

Posted by Frank
a resident of Danville
on Feb 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm

My two children go to Kids Country and have a great time. They really love the football. The staff really seem to enjoy interacting with the kids, and are watching the kids when I pick them up. Are you complainers parents, I suspect not.

Posted by JJ in San Ramon
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Rachel and Steve E.

Where are you coming up with these crazy allegations. Why don't you check out the tax returns if you really think there is an issue. I doubt it. We are happy with the wonderful staff at BC.

Posted by Rachel
a resident of Danville
on Feb 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

JJ - what I said about discrimination isn't crazy. KC employees have filed discrimination several claims against KC in the past two years. Look in the files at the California Fair Employment and Housing Agency and in the court files, Contra Costa County. It's all there. Shameful that KC would treat its employees that way!

Posted by Rachel
a resident of Danville
on Feb 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Oh, and the tax returns, which you can look up online, show losses totaling over $300,000 during 2007-08 and 2008-09!!!! Can't believe it! How can they be losing that much money with all that they charge us?

I wonder what 2009-10 will show? I did not see that online yet.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Danville
on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:45 am

Wasn't Jessica going to check on this story?

Posted by Another Concerned Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Clearly, there are major differences from KC site to KC site. Another bad mark for them in my opinion. Consistency is key. Most importantly, the public face of the site (its Director) must be able to handle issues, concerns, complaints, etc. without becoming defensive and even rude to their customers. My issues are mainly with the perceptions of the lack of responsible supervision and the way the Director treats her customers.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I know that it can be hard to feel that you have no choice in child care. However, I wonder, if O L Gomer had a point about the hysterical parenting. I have seen excessively many parents in my school who parent from a place of fear. They are creating children who are terrified of the world and no curious about all the wonder that surrounds us.
It is reasonable to expect that your child will be safe and looked after. Is your expectation of what this means in line with the reality with what KC and any other after school care company can reasonably provide? From your many posts on this subject, I speculate that you might be the type of people who treat “service” workers with little or no respect. Be careful, they are actually the ones in the power position. Crap on them and your life becomes much harder.
I think that your daughter hair being cut is bad, but in the whole scheme of things, hair grows back. Why did your daughter just sit there while this happened? I am trusting that you have taught her to speak up if something is wrong. Yes, the teachers should have seen this, and stopped it. I know my own daughter would not stand for this. I have taught her to seek help if she feels that a situation is not right. I have seen her do it on multiple occasions, when bigger kids were bullies or a kid is just mean.
Just some things to think about as you rage against the KC.

Posted by OLG
a resident of Danville
on Feb 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Better duck, Sandy. These are the internets, where moms can be dads, parenting is perfect, all the children are above average and every one has perfect hair.

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Danville
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I must say with an incoming Kindergartner in the fall all of this is concerning to me. I was planning on sending my son to Kids Country but with all of this negativity and allegations of discrimination I am a little worried. I wish there were more options.

Posted by Homer
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:41 am


I would not be concerned about these allegations. Some people just throughout the race card when they can't argue intelligently or just want to be hurtful when they do not get their way. My two kids have gone to Coyote Creek and loved it. To ease your mind, just take your kids to play at the school and observe how the Kids Country people supervise and interact with the children on the play ground. I did, and I was very comfortable leaving my children in their care.

Posted by Vivian L.
a resident of Danville
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

All of this information is very interesting. What goes on with non profit companies behind the scenes can be concerning. I kind of agree with Sandy above. Allegations of discrimination and lack of supervision are red flags in my book.

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of John Baldwin Elementary School
on Jun 10, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I know the KC facility in our school has had a very high turnaround rate. Every year, this Baldwin KC has new people. My daughter keeps telling me about how they now have someone new again. How do I trust a day care who can't hold on to people? It tells me that there's something fundamentally wrong in how it is run.

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