July 3, 1996 in City
Day Care Owner Vows To Appeal Closure
The owner of a South Hill day care closed by the state insists inspectors are exaggerating problems identified there.
Judith Roberts, who also runs three other Kinder College centers in Spokane, said she will appeal the closure, ordered Monday by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
“We can prove that most of their allegations are not correct,” Roberts said Tuesday.
Kinder College Corner, 1518 E. 29th, has been operating since 1985.
In closing it down, inspectors cited a number of problems at the center over the past three years. They include a child who broke an arm on an unauthorized field trip, alleged verbal abuse of a parent, and inadequate staff for the number of children cared for.
The state also cited Kinder College’s financial difficulties, including failure to pay a power bill and unpaid salaries.
But Roberts said the state’s concerns over inadequate staffing and neglect are unfounded.
Another reported problem - a center supervisor lying on the floor when an inspector arrived - is inaccurate, Roberts argued.
“First, it wasn’t a supervisor. It was a staff worker who had recently had an operation.”
The worker had shoulder pains that day and chose to lie down briefly to stretch her muscles, Roberts said.
The inspector arrived but never asked the worker why she was on the floor, according to Roberts.
“It was momentary and not a problem,” the owner added. The worker could see children in the room and hear older children in the next room, Roberts said.
Roberts said the other charges will be challenged either at an appeal hearing “or through the courts.”
She said the state is partly to blame for the center’s money troubles.
The impact of not receiving state subsidies for children from low-income families forced Roberts to fall behind on some payments, she said.
“I even ended up selling some personal items to pay expenses,” she said.
But a state official said he’s seen no indication Kinder College isn’t receiving subsidies promptly.
David Williams, a Spokane supervisor for Social and Health Services, said he was told by Gary Roberts, Judith’s husband, that the state owed the center about $10,000.
“He could not find anything to document that we are behind in those payments.
“I don’t believe it’s possible,” Williams said.
About two-thirds of the 43 children at the South Hill center qualified for the subsidies, Judith Roberts said.