Changes for Tiny Tots Program this Fall

By Brandon HENSLEY

The Tiny Tots program at Crescenta Valley Park will undergo changes this fall because of compliance issues, which has left parents upset and the L.A. County Parks Department hopeful the changes will make things better in the long run.

Because of state compliance issues, Tiny Tots hours and the way it is run will be altered. The Boys and Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley has since come in and offered care for those ages 6 to 18 (Tiny Tots is for children pre-school to 5 years old.)

Registration for Tiny Tots began Monday and will be held at CV Park beginning Oct. 15 and run through Dec. 15. The program will be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. four days a week. The cost is $40 per week. The program teaches children colors, shapes and numbers while helping their motor skills as well as their socialization skills.

County Regional Manager Manuel Escobar said L.A. County sent letters to parents of the children in the program Aug. 23 notifying them of the changes. Tiny Tots used to be two sessions per day, and was run like a day care. That changed this summer when the county’s East Agency, which took control from the North Agency earlier this year, cited the program as out of compliance with Assembly Bill 1991.

Daycare centers must have proper resources such as proper meals, a certified kitchen, a naptime and bathtubs, and in a meeting earlier this month with parents, county workers explained that wasn’t the case with Tiny Tots at the park.

“We fall into the non-childcare facilities [area],” said Susan Hsi, assistant Regional Recreation director for the East Region, at a meeting on Aug. 3.

“We’re out of compliance,” said Hsi’s supervisor Anthony Montanez at the meeting. “You have to be a licensed daycare. We are not.”

As a result, Tiny Tots will be 12 hours a week, angering parents because those at the meeting said they or their significant other would not be able to get off work mid-day to pick their child up.

Parents were also angry that they received the news of the compliance issue and the program’s hours change in late July, just weeks before school would start. Some stated that the late notice would make it difficult for them to find a daycare if they wanted out of Tiny Tots.

Escobar said this week, because of the compliance issue, this changes needed to be done.

“I know it’s going to be difficult. I understand the parents’ frustration,” he said. “We’re trying to benefit the community.”

Escobar said the Boys and Girls Club will be serving CV Park for six months to a year, depending on the need.

“We don’t know if they’re going to come back. That’s an alternative we wanted to explore,” he said. After the Christmas break, Escobar said the county will evaluate the Tiny Tots program and will make a decision whether to keep it going in January or not.

“Hopefully in the long run [the changes] will be better for everyone,” he said.