Unattended Children Policy
Policy Number: 15-35
Policy Approval Date: April 13, 2015
Policy Review Date: April 2018
The Huntsville Public Library encourages and promotes children's use of the Library. It is the responsibility of the parent or caregiver to monitor the whereabouts and behaviour of their children. Library staff cannot be held responsible for the welfare of children left unattended in Library facilities.
In accordance with the Ontario Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, C.11, children under the age of 10 must remain in the company of a parent or responsible caregiver while in the Library. A child 9 years or younger who is attending a Library program need not be accompanied into that program by a parent/caregiver, unless otherwise indicated. Parents/caregivers must, however, be present in the building during the program in case an emergency should arise.
Sharing the Library environment with other people requires that everyone follow the Library Code of Conduct established by the Library Board and posted in the building and on the Library website. If a child in this age group violates the Library Code of Conduct, the child and the parent, guardian, or caregiver will be informed of the code. If inappropriate behavior continues, the family may be asked to leave the library.
An unattended or lost child will be reassured by a staff member who will help them locate their parent or caregiver using procedures outlined below.
During Open Hours
Lead the child through the public areas of the building to locate their caregiver.
Verify with the child that this is the correct person.
If the caregiver cannot be located within the building, attempt to contact them by phone.
Remain with the child until the caregiver arrives.
If all reasonable attempts to locate the parent or caregiver fail, call the Family, Youth and Children's Services of Muskoka (1-800-680-4426) or the Huntsville OPP (at 705 789-5551) and explain the situation. Complete an Incident Report.
In both cases, inform the caregiver of the Unattended Child Policy.
As a public place, the Library does not monitor the activities of its users unless there is a problem with conduct or a child is left unattended. Truancy is a school and parent issue, not a library one. The library cannot act in the role of either parent or police. If a parent, caregiver, or school representative telephones to inquire if a child is in the Library, staff will attempt to locate and bring the child to the phone to speak with them.
After Closing Time:
Concern for a child after closing hours is not necessarily restricted to those 9 years of age and younger. Staff should use their judgment and err on the side of caution for children.
Two staff members should be present at all times.
If a child is unattended at closing time, discern whether transportation arrangements have been made. Staff may wait with a child for up to 15 minutes after closing for a caregiver to arrive.
If no arrangements have been made, contact the parent or caregiver by phone, inform them that the Library has closed and they must come and pick up their child within 15 minutes.
When caregiver arrives, verify with the child that it is the correct person.
Inform the caregiver of the Unattended Child Policy.
If no parent or guardian arrives within 15 minutes after closing, call the police.
Under no circumstances will Library staff provide transportation for unattended children.
Complete an Incident Report noting the child's name, parent/caregiver's name, phone number, and address.
References & Related Documents
Computer & Internet Use Policy
Library Code of Conduct
Ontario Child and Family Services Act, RSO 1990, C.11
Safety, Security & Emergency Policy
Working Alone Policy
Youth Services Policy
Approved by the Huntsville Public Library Board, April 13, 2015
Motion Number: 15-35
Superseded Policy 11-54 Approved by the Huntsville Public Library Board, November 16, 2011