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Childcare centre fined after kids escape

A Gold Coast childcare centre has been fined after two toddlers escaped the facility and were found alongside a busy road.

Queensland Education Department took legal action against Coomera’s Okeedokee Early Learning Centre over the October 2020 incident in which the two-year-olds left the premises undetected and were seen running towards traffic.

The childcare centre was fined $15,600 in Southport Magistrates Court on Monday.

Dash cam footage of the incident circulated on social media showed the children running towards Foxwell Road before being intercepted by pedestrians.

Queensland Education Department took legal action, alleging the centre failed to provide children with adequate supervision and had not taken every reasonable precaution to protect children from harm and hazards.

It also said the centre failed to ensure the children did not leave the premises and had not taken reasonable steps to ensure staff followed safe environment policies and procedures.

“The penalties imposed reflect the seriousness of these offences under the National Law and National Regulations and the prosecution sends a strong message to all approved providers about their responsibilities to closely supervise and protect the children in their care from risk of harm,” Queensland Education Department said of the fine in a statement.

“In particular…(the magistrate) noted there is a high level of trust placed in a service by parents and this incident could have resulted in death or serious injury.

“It is critical that everyone involved in the provision of education and care to children is aware of the importance of active supervision, and this case shows the serious consequences that can result when children are not adequately supervised.”

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