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State seeks to revoke license of Anaheim day-care center after toddlers wound up on train tracks [Updated]

September 2, 2009 | 12:13 pm

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 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 at 103 S. Atchison St. 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 parents were signing their children in and out with their full legal names, regulators said.

Two neighbors called police after spotting the boys on the train tracks, and one of the callers took them 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.

A YMCA spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but in a written statement last week, spokesman John Guastaferro said the organization was conducting its own investigation and “doing everything within our power to ensure that something like this could never happen again.”

The day-care center has 15 days to respond to the complaint. If the YMCA does not contest the findings, it will lose its infant and child-care licenses and could be forced to close in a matter of weeks.

[Updated, 12:40 p.m.: 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.”]

-- Tony Barboza in Orange County