By Brandon HENSLEY
Parents who have children in Crescenta Valley Park’s Tiny Tots program are up in arms over the recent announcement that the Boys & Girls Club will be taking over the program this month due to compliance issues.
In a meeting at the park on Friday that was contentious at points, about 25 parents voiced their displeasure to park supervisor Susan Hsi and her supervisor Anthony Montanez on the upcoming change.
The North Agency of L.A. County gave over control of the Tiny Tots program to its East Agency this spring, and the East decided the park had not been in compliance – for at least five years – for children to be held there all day, like a daycare. Instead, in an announcement by the park late last month, the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley will be taking over when school starts on Aug. 20.
Parents are upset that they were notified just last month, leaving them to scramble for other preschools or daycares just weeks before school. The overriding view of most of the parents at the meeting was that they are apprehensive about continuing with the Boys & Girls Club.
“We’re out of compliance,” said Montanez. “You have to be a licensed daycare. We are not.”
The compliance issues raised have to do with Assembly Bill 1991, which Hsi talked about in the meeting. Daycare centers must have proper resources such as proper meals, a certified kitchen, a naptime and bathtubs, said Hsi.
“We fall into the non-childcare facilities [area],” she said.
Currently, Tiny Tots runs in two sessions at the park and lasts the entire workday. But the hours will be cut to 12 per week, four hours per day, which poses a problem for parents like Slomique Hawrylo.
“Ninety percent of us work full time,” she said. “We can’t get off of work to come down here.”
The club will operate Monday through Friday for kids in first grade through eighth, according to its flyer available at the meeting.
Hawrylo and fellow parent Athena Pierre expressed disappointment because they both said they’ve been more than satisfied with the way Tiny Tots has provided for their children.
“Some parents take their kids out of other daycares to actually come here,” said Hawrylo, who also said the parents have developed a relationship with others and the environment is friendly.
“We never had an issue before,” she said. “No one was requesting [this change]. No one was asking for it.”
Pierre said she knows another woman who was not getting her money’s worth at another facility.
“She said it’s all the same, you don’t really learn,’” Pierre said. “You’re paying a lot of money for them to play. My son came here after weeks, he came home writing his first name and last name … we were impressed.”
The cost for Tiny Tots is $50 a week for both sessions. The Boys and & Girls Club offers rates at $120 per month.
Pierre mentioned that one family who had been wait-listed for the past year at another daycare was recently offered an opening, but turned it down because they were happy with CV Park’s offering. But the family is upset with the program change, and that open spot at the other daycare has since been filled.
Changes to the current staff when the club takes over are yet to be decided. Parents at the meeting expressed concern that some staff workers may be replaced, which would be disappointing to them.
“It has nothing to do with the quality of the staff, which we all agree is exceptional,” said Hsi. “I’m saying the powers that be … that govern the state will not allow us to be a daycare facility.”
Montanez said he would talk to County council and relay the parents’ displeasure, and that he could have some news on the situation this week. As of Wednesday, there had been no new announcements, but some of the parents would like to make their voices heard louder and may possibly take this issue to the CV Town Council.