Kidsville daycare centers may lose licenses, shut down in PBC

Kidsville on health department's chopping block
Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 14, 2016

Kidsville, a daycare center expected to look after children, is once again accused of endangering them.

The Palm Beach County Health Department says Kidsville of Boynton and Delray Beach is “flaunting the law,” potentially putting your child in danger. 

The Health Department wants to shut them down, but Kidsville isn’t going away without a fight.

Read: Palm Beach County Department of Health's letter of intent to revoke license

In early October, county health department leaders sent a letter to Kidsville’s owners, saying they intend to pull the daycare's licenses to operate.

Read: Kidsville's response to Department of Health

Shutting down Kidsville would leave hundreds of children without a place to go, but the county says Kidsville has broken the law too many times.

Beth Loach has been sending her 2 year old son Rory to Kidsville in Delray Beach for most of his life.

“He's always running around, playing with toys and his newest thing is climbing on everything,” said Beth. 

Loach says that is, until Rory had to be sent to Kidsville in Boynton Beach. “Just his behavior started to change, you know he was very irritable.”

Rory and dozens of others were moved to the Boynton Beach location, after Kidsville in Delray lost part of its roof in early October. The building was condemned.  

A change, Loach and the county health department say, the daycare staff wasn’t ready for. “I witnessed probably, in the mornings, about 20 to 25 kids per teacher,” said Loach.

According to the Palm Beach County Health Department, for the fifth time in two years, the Kidsville Boynton location had too many children, and not enough teachers. 

But the trouble doesn't end there. 

Last year, the Contact 5 Investigators discovered questions about Kidsville’s ownership, and answers that point straight to the money.

On paper, Marshas Myrthil and her husband Jean Benjamin sold the daycare to keep state money rolling in, while insiders tell us they kept running the show. 

Myrthil is convicted of fraud, unrelated to the daycare. But because of that conviction, the state says she can't own a daycare or work with children.

The county health department thinks Myrthil and her husband are lying about both.

Contact 5 couldn’t track down Myrthil, but just last week, we found her husband, Jean Benjamin outside of the Kidsville Center in Delray.

Jean Benjamin wouldn’t answer our questions about the health department’s allegations, only telling us “I don’t want to talk to you, and talk to my lawyer.”

Jean Benjamin did reply to the health department, however. In a letter, Benjamin denies he let his wife Marshas around the children in Kidsville, and also denies misrepresenting ownership.

As of November, Benjamin’s name is currently on state records, listed as the owner. 

Warren Eldridge works with the Early Learning Coalition. He used to be in charge of Kidsville’s state funding, before pulling it following our investigations.

“Kidsville is the biggest issue that we've had. We've been constantly following this shell game,” said Eldridge. 

Eldridge confirms that four agencies are currently criminally investigating Kidsville’s apparent owners for fraud.

“I want to know who ultimately is responsible for my child,” said Eldridge.

Loach also wants to know who is responsible for her child, and what she found, she doesn’t like. Loach pulled Rory out of Kidsville.

“It's just very disheartening you know at the end of the day, the kids are the ones that suffer,” said Loach.

Kidsville’s owners will go before the Palm Beach County Child Care Advisory Council Tuesday Nov.r 15, to argue against the license revocation.

Contact 5 investigators will be there. 

Contact the author: Click here to email Sam Smink. Or contact her via Facebook or Twitter.