Even as she hugs her Minnie and Mickey stuffed animals, 2-year old Ivanna has no idea what she’s been through, but her mother, Olga Sebastiani, says this week has been a nightmare.
Little Ivanna managed to walk out of her daycare center in Richmond on her own, unnoticed, and after wandering around, found her way to her grandmother’s house across the street.
Sebastiani says she is still in shock over what happened at the Balboa Child Development Center on Monday.
“How did she get out? How come nobody’s looking for her? I was very concerned, very worried because anything could have happened to her. She could have run [over] by [a] car, kidnapped, still wandering around by herself on the street. It was very intense and nervewracking.” Sebastiani said.
Her mother-in-law works most of the week, but was thankfully home when the little girl knocked on her door around 2:30 p.m. Monday.
She says two women who happened to be nearby told her mother-in-law that the little girl had been wandering around the area for awhile. Balboa officials refused to comment. The receptionist even declined to give the center director’s name, but Balboa is a part of Contra Costa County’s Head Start program which serves low-income families.
The county’s Community Services Director Camilla Rand tells NBC Bay Area that she and her department are taking this case very seriously, and have launched an internal investigation. Rand adds this is the first time this has happened since the program began 47 years ago.
“We self-reported to community care licensing, something that shows how seriously we take this incident. We continue to have safety measures in place and we are conducting an investigation,” said Rand Friday afternoon over the phone.
Sebastiani says two Balboa employees told her Monday that while the monitors were broken, surveillance footage was rolling at the time. But four days later, the county says there is no video at all because Balboa’s surveillance system was down starting July 31st and still not back up on August 6th when the incident happened.
As she waits for the results of this county investigation that could take a week or more, Sebastiani says she hopes staff members involved are disciplined. She says the county told her it was waiting for the final investigation results before making any major changes.
“They’re still working in the area but not [on] the site, doing paperwork and not working with children.” Sebastiani says her biggest concern is that regardless of the county’s track record, she wants to make certain this never happens again.
The mother who says she cannot work as she tries to find a new school for her two-year old, adds she is now considering a lawsuit. “I want this to be solved and [for them] to take as an example, they need to be more careful.”