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BOULDER, Colo. –

Social-services officials are investigating a Boulder child-care provider after a toddler was found wandering the streets alone this week.

Police said the 2-year-old boy walked away unnoticed from the Saffron School day care, 473 Harvard Lane, on Thursday morning.

Boulder resident Jessica Gumkowski, 37, spotted the wandering toddler about 10:40 a.m. while jogging along Harvard Lane in south Boulder.

“I was listening to my iPod and I couldn’t help but notice this little dude, like 2 feet tall, walking along the sidewalk,” Gumkowski said. “I said, ‘Do you need my help?’ He just shook his head ‘yes’ and was crying a little bit.”

The two walked to a nearby King Soopers, 3600 Table Mesa Drive, and called police.

“I thought, if I was a mother, what would I want someone to do?” Gumkowski said. “I’m just really glad I found him.”

Officers arrived, gave the toddler a teddy bear and began asking neighbors for help.

Soon, they came upon Michael Moore, who was hosting a garage sale outside his home on Harvard Lane.

“(An officer) had a kid by the hand and said, ‘Please, tell me you can help me,'” said Moore, 29. “I said, ‘There’s a day care next to my house,’ and we walked over together.”

Police returned the child to the licensed child-care provider, and the school’s owner and director, Margarita Anselim-Neuman, called the boy’s parents. Anselim-Neuman told police that the mother told her the boy has a habit of walking away and leaving the home unsupervised, according to police.

Reached by phone Friday, Anselim-Neuman declined to comment.

Police declined to release the names of the child’s parents.

Moore, the neighbor to the child-care center, said he’s been concerned about the business.

“I’ve never seen more than one adult out there at one time,” he said.

Moore said the red, brick house has been a rental property for years, and that traffic along the side street in front of the building creates a hazard for children outside.

His girlfriend, Sacha Mittelman, 32, is a school psychologist employed by the St. Vrain Valley School District and a former child-care worker.

She also said she’s noticed few adults keeping an eye on children at the house.

“I have leaned over the fence and I’ve definitely had concerns about the level of supervision before,” she said. “Even little things, like a kid having a hammer. It’s a lot of space for one person to supervise.”

According to the Saffron School Web site, the center “feels that keeping teacher to student ratios low is of utmost importance when supporting small groups of children. Our childcare center operates under the ratios recommended by Colorado’s Department of Child Care.”

Police, however, have referred the center to the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services, as well as the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Both agencies have launched investigations.

According to a search of records with the state agency, the Saffron School is licensed for in-home care under the operating name Ann Andrews. Its license allows for the care of up to 12 children at a time, from newborns to age 13.

Conditions include that “children shall be under direct supervision during outside play.”

The home business was last inspected in February, and it had at least one complaint filed against it, in October last year, according to records. The complaint alleged a lack of supervision and insufficient staff-to-child ratio. Records show the complaint was substantiated, but they do not say what sanctions, if any, were taken.

Liz McDonough, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services, said children wandering away from day-care centers is a rare, and very serious, issue.

“It is an extraordinarily rare occurrence, but obviously a very dangerous one,” McDonough said. “This is a possible issue of child neglect. A 2-year-old, in general, has to be supervised at all times.”

She said the state would wait on Boulder County to conclude its initial investigation, and then take over to see if the business violated conditions of its operating license. Sanctions could range from increased supervision of the business to revoking its license.

Frank Alexander, executive director of Boulder County’s Housing and Human Services, said there have been 51 complaints filed this year against child-care facilities in the county.

“We have a very small percentage of reports … about wandering children,” Alexander said.

He said an investigation would be launched into the Saffron School’s “safety issues” and “level of supervision.”

Boulder police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said criminal charges remain possible, but that depends heavily on the county and state findings.

Archived comments

Yes, really!

victropolis@gmail.com

6/20/2009 9:13:04 AM

Dr_Hal ROFL!

ExCo

6/20/2009 12:26:56 PM

This place has “Nut Free daycare center” on their sign in the front.

Not sure what it means..?

Dr_Hal

6/19/2009 2:10:34 PM

that refers to allergies I bet….but can refer to the hired help now

Hope

6/19/2009 2:53:48 PM

In this case, I think “nut free daycare center” means “closed”. Would you take your kid back there?

Escape

6/19/2009 3:00:11 PM

If I were 2, I’d do the same thing.

super_boulder

6/19/2009 3:11:15 PM

There goes their enrollment……….

Gardenburgers4prariedogs

6/19/2009 3:13:20 PM

They need another pedestrian tunnel for Table Mesa, so these 2 year olds can safely cross over to King Soopers at lunch.

I was the same way at lunch time when I was 2, breast milk or I’ll just have to go to the store and get some candy.

Dr_Hal

6/19/2009 3:29:39 PM

Waita minute – a mother who left her child in an air conditioned car while she went into the store for 15 minutes gets a ticket for child abuse and a report to social services yet this daycare center got nothing?Not even a slap on the wrist.

Strange way to enforce the law here folks.

my2cents

6/19/2009 3:35:31 PM

Ticket them for child abuse?Mom leaves kid in A/C car for 6 minutes, gets charged w/child abuse.Day-care loses a child and no citation?WTF?

P1 out.

P.S. I see they were reported to Social Services, this is not the same as being charged/cited with a crime.

P1

6/19/2009 3:40:30 PM

“Nut Free…Not sure what it means..?”

It means you and P1 and my2cents can’t post.

flaven

6/19/2009 3:58:30 PM

P1 & 2cent- is it in the law to charge a business with a criminal indictment?I am not being smarta$%ed, I’m asking a legal question.Perhaps the investigation from Social Services will result in an arrest or a ticket?

Regarding Mikes Camera, I have no idea what this story has to do with a woman breaking the law by leaving her kid in the car.If I understand you, the police should look at what bad things happened that day and only ticket someone if their crime is worse than another one that day?

“Leaving your kid in a car is a ticketable offense, but it’s your lucky day! A moron at a daycare let a kid get away, so you get off today. Congratulations!”

civilibertarian

6/19/2009 3:58:33 PM

car was running, the AC was on and the kid was asleep. But that’s splitting hairs for a legalist such as yourself.

Fact: kid wandering away from the daycare was in far more danger than the kid in the car.

FrictionSouled

6/19/2009 4:50:28 PM

“… keeping teacher to student ratios low” means having few teachers and lots of students.Is that really what they meant to say?

tns6nib02@sneakemail.com

6/19/2009 4:51:54 PM

at least no homeless people hit him with a stick.

s4burf

6/19/2009 5:16:03 PM

Boulder should be ticketing the mom for allowing the child to be an escape artist.

Jadam12

6/19/2009 5:31:06 PM

These things happen in Boulder.

Staja_6655321

6/19/2009 5:43:05 PM

My 5 year old attended this day care for two years.My 3 year old has been attending this day care for the last two years.I have complete and total confidence in The Saffron School.The child that escaped has a history of escaping from his house and his parents did not tell the staff anything about this.The child’s parents are not making a big deal about this because they know their child has a history of this behavior.And, yes, Nut Free refers to the fact that they are safe for children with allergies.

victropolis@gmail.com

6/19/2009 6:06:11 PM

Hey, the kid just wanted to pick up some weed from the local dealer – cut ’em some slack, man.

CasualObserver

6/19/2009 8:30:19 PM

A good way to keep kids from wandering off is to tie them to a tree or something.

obamanation

6/19/2009 8:57:09 PM

This 2-year-old kid is trouble. We need to clamp down on his aberrant behavior NOW!

At 2, he outsmarts his supervisors?

No telling what he will do at 7.

Kid’s a rogue.

Shut. him. down.

Now!

Staja_6655321

6/19/2009 9:47:12 PM

victropolis, really?Really?

intheknow

6/19/2009 11:16:45 PM

Friction.

RE: “fact”…

Sign yourself up as the Mike’s Camera Mom’s attorney NOW! You’re a regular Lionel Hutz.

civilibertarian

6/20/2009 9:07:40 AM

“Kid’s a rogue.

Shut. him. down.

Now!”

ROFL!

BiggieSmalls

6/20/2009 10:14:48 AM

This whole “kid” situation will not be of much concern to us once the Mayaan prophecies of 2012 come to be.

DanielPlainview

6/20/2009 10:29:00 AM

The story about the child being left in the running car while mom popped in to a shop – not the best split second judgment but this surely happens hundreds of times a day in Boulder for exactly the reason the mom stated: her little one had fallen asleep and she thought she’d only be a minute and could most likely see her car through the front window of Mike’s Camera. I’m not condoning her decision, but I get it. If she was verbally upset, it was probably because she knew the Camera would be chomping at the bit to play yellow journalism (as usual) with this non-sensational story.

Regarding the 2 year old toddling away from the daycare home — for all the hilarity about the child’s unruliness, imagine your own tiny child walking alone alongside S. Broadway wimpering and wondering where mom and dad are. The likelihood that this could have ended with the little boy hit by a car is very great. Regardless of the child’s tendency to wander, it is the responsibility of the daycare to ensure every child’s safety and, in this case, they seriously messed up.

kfj

6/20/2009 10:39:18 AM

hippy-dippy day care center

sparkyma

6/20/2009 10:44:26 AM

This child should be removed from custody of his parents, and the day care facility should be closed.

There are NO ACCEPTABLE CIRCUMSTANCES in which a two year old child should be able to wander away from his home or his day care center…NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER!!

Of course, I’m sure his mom is protecting his self esteem by not restricting him from wandering where he could be killed, kidnapped, raped…I guess she doesn’t feel that those types of preventable tragedies would damage his self esteem as much as a LOCKED DOOR!!

thelastliberal

6/20/2009 11:19:52 AM

Is the same kid or a sibling of the kid whose mother left him/her in a running car with the door ajar?

It would explain so much….

thelastliberal

6/20/2009 11:22:50 AM

Posted by Dr_Hal on June 19, 2009 at 3:29 p.m.

“They need another pedestrian tunnel for Table Mesa, so these 2 year olds can safely cross over to King Soopers at lunch.”

Wow, thanks – I needed the side-splitting laugh you just gave me!That was hilarious!

Phineas_Q_Butterfats

6/20/2009 11:34:02 AM

I hear that Social-services is considering waterboarding the entire staff at the day care center.

ExCo

6/20/2009 11:34:05 AM

Typical Boulder: faint at heart when the bikers protest a stop sign at an intersection but one will go up when a wayward child is finally killed.

“Saffron” day care? Is this some throwback to the lame 1960’s Boulder?

Isn’t that location more or less on the edge of Boulder’s slum, “Martian Acres?” Why would anyone drop their child off in that neighborhood??? Maybe a day care out on North Broadway in the affordable housing trailers with syringe strewn playgrounds would be better.

Hey, we’re livin’ in Boulder now: “don’t judge anyone as you might hurt their feelings.”

BoulderOldTimer

6/20/2009 12:40:44 PM

Saint BOT – Did you teach your children–the ones who NEVER left your supervision–to be such snobs?

Martin Acres a slum?

You need to get out of your bubble more often.

Staja_6655321

6/20/2009 2:59:28 PM

“feels that keeping teacher to student ratios low is of utmost importance when supporting small groups of children.”

Should illiterates be allowed to write copy for daycare center www sites?

Fee_Waybill

6/20/2009 4:07:42 PM

“feels that keeping teacher to student ratios low is of utmost importance when supporting small groups of children.”

Sounds like truth in advertising!And maybe a good way to get innumerate parents to sign up.

zulu@mailinator.com

6/20/2009 6:44:29 PM

I hope BOT has battened down the hatches of his gated haven, safe from the ‘slums’ of multi-cultural, community-oriented, over-the-fence chatting neighborly Martin Acres and, pray to the heavens above, somewhere far far over the rainbow from those Sunday conversational Vic’s coffee-drinking, married, successful, Bolder-Boulder running families up on 4th Street…lest his own precious children should hightail it the hell outta there while dear old dad is busy dipping his pen in poison to scratch scathing commentary on his fellow Boulderites. Is there anyone anywhere good enough for you, OldTimer?

kfj

6/20/2009 7:44:23 PM

The Kids these days.

The_Merry_Prankster

6/20/2009 8:02:45 PM

I saved a 2 yr old from getting hit by a car in Denver years ago.

Turned out he’d wandered off from his day care’s outing to a park.

I always felt I should have tracked down the parents and told them what happened as the daycare denied he had wandered off without their knowledge after I accused them of negligence.

Anyway, one more for the books!

Pogi

6/20/2009 8:48:06 PM

“Anselim-Neuman told police that the mother told her the boy has a habit of walking away and leaving the home unsupervised, according to police”

Blame the 2 yeard old. I am going to do that next time someone holds me accountable. I may end up on Mahogony row.

mtnview

6/20/2009 10:20:56 PM

Sadly this does not surprise me at all.After looking into sending our child to the Saffron School a few months ago, we walked away with the feeling that it was just not a safe environment.On both our visits the front door was unlocked, allowing anyone to easily enter or leave.Also, there only ever seemed to be one adult present at any given time, even though there were quite a few children spread out over a large area (including the house and big backyard).The place just didn’t sit right with us.

BirdieNumNum

6/20/2009 10:21:11 PM

What to do, what to do?!?! I’d suggest a little ‘parental responsibility’, but obviously, that would be much too radical. How about this: inject the kid with a microchip (like the family dog), slap on a tracking GPS/ankle braclet and put him in a cage for the day (like the family dog), so Mommy and Daddy can go to their all-important high-power careers, where they are tracked with their IPods (like the family… um…), in their ‘cubes’ for the day (like the fam… AAAAAGGGHHH!!!

loosecannon

6/20/2009 11:08:20 PM

Did theyfind him ‘on the road’ ?

Is his last name Kerouac?

mrjohnson

6/20/2009 11:30:43 PM

Responsible parents don’t send their children to day care!

If you can’t care for your own children, then don’t have them.

Fee_Waybill

6/20/2009 11:31:10 PM

It’s not fair to say parents aren’t responsible because they send their child to day care.Not everyone has disposable income to raise their kid.Not everyone has the time and money that is required to have a child but in the end we all have them don’t we? So you think they shouldn’t even have kids because of this?Who are you to say who can have kids or not, it’s up to the couple to make that decision, not you. And how they decide to raise their kid isn’t your business either right or wrong.You don’t know their personal business, lives, circumstances they’re in, financial issues, etc.

Also if this child wanders enough he might even be able to find his way home eventually.Sure he is just a child, should they put a harness on him so he won’t wander?Kids do kid things, they do outrageous crazy, dangerous, risky things, I’m sure parents can sympathize with other parents when their child does something stupid like wander when he isn’t supposed to.

Not like I ever want to have a kid, in fact I can’t stand kids but admire those parents who go through the time, hassle, money to raise their little monsters.

yj207

6/21/2009 12:21:04 AM

oh man I can’t edit or delete my comments after I post them?Either way the daycare had a job to watch out for that kid, whether he has a wandering problem or not I wouldn’t send a kid to a place with such poor adult supervision.Why pay them money for something they’re not even doing?Shouldn’t there be a locked gate or something?Also how long was the kid missing, nobody reported a missing kid from the daycare center.If they’re not making sure the kid is there what are they doing?

yj207

6/21/2009 12:30:35 AM

“It’s not fair to say parents aren’t responsible because they send their child to day care”

Spoken like an apologist for irresponsible parents.

“Not everyone has the time and money that is required to have a child but in the end we all have them don’t we?”

See: Irresponsible

“Not like I ever want to have a kid, in fact I can’t stand kids”

Do society a favor and adhere to your assertion.

Fee_Waybill

6/21/2009 12:32:14 AM

“Responsible parents don’t send their children to day care!”

Q. Why does Uriah hate personal freedom and liberty so much ?

The_Merry_Prankster

6/21/2009 6:26:32 AM

“Q. Why does Uriah hate personal freedom and liberty so much ?”

Q. Who is this “Uriah” and why is The_Merry_Prankster so infatuated with him/her?

Fee_Waybill

6/21/2009 11:59:38 AM

Q. Why does The_Merry_Prankster equate child abuse with “freedom” ?

Has social services approved your home environment lately?

To report child abuse and neglect, call 303-441-1000 for the Boulder office and 303-678-6247 for the Longmont office

Fee_Waybill

6/21/2009 12:12:43 PM

Fee is right, responsible parents don’t leave their children in daycare facilities.

Hoosier_Daddy

6/22/2009 9:58:53 AM

Of COURSE responsible parents leave their children in day care! Where else can they be raised by the village? If parents kept their kids at home, juggling work schedules and finances to afford it, the next thing you know they would be home schooling them, and teaching them their own values rather than someone else’s. And where would our society be if the the state school system couldn’t raise our kids for us?

Flamers: See “satire” in the dictionary before you respond…”

blacksho89@yahoo.com

6/22/2009 11:35:55 AM

You people are unbelievable…..It’s absolutely responsible to send your kid to day care when yo have to return to work.But it’s the responsible parent who will do a background check on a day care facility before sending their child there. Wish we could all be trustfunders but some of of must work….

fairplay

6/22/2009 11:54:41 AM

“.It’s absolutely responsible to send your kid to day care …”

No, it isn’t.

Thousands of incidents of harm, abuse and death at Day Care facilities prove otherwise.

Responsible parents take care of their own children. If you can’t afford to care for them properly, or won’t care for them properly, then you shouldn’t have children.

See: Midyette

Hoosier_Daddy

6/22/2009 12:49:42 PM

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