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Anaheim day-care center could lose its license

California regulators file a complaint against the YMCA Children's Station after two toddlers wandered off during an outing and were found on nearby railroad tracks.

September 03, 2009|Tony Barboza

State regulators want to revoke the child-care license of an Anaheim YMCA day-care center after two toddlers wandered off during an outing last month and were found on nearby railroad tracks.

In a complaint filed this week, the Department of Social Services said the YMCA Children's Station violated California health and safety laws by failing to adequately supervise and protect the 2-year-old boys, who were discovered missing during a routine head count. They were returned unharmed.

The state said the day-care center did not have enough adults supervising children during an Aug. 20 outing to a park next to the center in the 100 block of South Atchison Street and failed to notify police or the boys' parents when the toddlers went missing.

The center also failed to have a written procedure to sign children in and out. The center had been cited Feb. 19 for failing to ensure that parents were signing their children in and out with their full legal names, regulators noted.

Two neighbors called police after spotting the boys on the train tracks, and one of the callers took them away from the tracks to safety, staying with them until officers arrived.

Workers at the YMCA flagged down police, who returned the toddlers to their caregivers.

Police said the boys probably found their way onto the tracks through a hole someone had cut in a wire fence, which the YMCA said has since been fixed.

The day-care center has 15 days to respond to the complaint, which could lead to it losing its infant and child-care licenses and being forced to close.

In a written statement, Paul Andresen, president and chief executive of the Anaheim Family YMCA, said he was requesting an appeal hearing.

"Over the past 15 years, the Children's Station has worked cooperatively with the state to maintain compliance with all safety regulations, and has positively impacted thousands of kids and families," the statement said.

"We are cooperating with the state to address their concerns in a responsible way, and are currently working with our attorneys to assist in the appeal process."

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tony.barboza@latimes.com

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