DCF: Girl, 4, safe after wandering away from summer camp | News

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DCF: Girl, 4, safe after wandering away from summer camp
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A Jacksonville Beach summer camp is under state investigation after a 4-year-old enrolled at the camp apparently wandered off Tuesday and was later found at a nearby salon, authorities said.

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The girl was reunited with her family after someone at the salon called police, according to the Seaside Playgarden.

Still, the agency is investigating exactly how she was able to slip past camp counselors and leave the facility, located on 8th Avenue, and exactly how long she was missing, Department of Children and Families spokesperson John Harrell told First Coast News.

The camp counselors who were present when the child wandered off have been fired, according to a post on the camp's Facebook page. Moving forward, children enrolled at the camp will be under the supervision of a teacher with decades of experience, the post added.

"Yesterday the unthinkable happened -- a four-year-old child under our care at summer camp left the premises and walked to a nearby salon, where a good Samaritan called police. Thankfully, the child was not hurt and is safe with her family. We sincerely apologize and our focus now is on ensuring that this never happens again," the post said in part.

The business also vowed to launch an internal investigation to find out how it happened, and promised to install a new security alarm to alert staff when anyone enters or leaves the premises. An outside safety consultant is also being hired, the post said.

The Seaside Playgarden has not had any recent violations. It could face a Class 1 violation, the most severe admonishment DCF can impose, for the incident, Harrell said.


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