Unattended Children

The Region of Waterloo Library welcomes children to use its facilities and services. However, library staff cannot assume responsibility for the safety and well-being of children left unattended. Staff do not act in place of parents/caregivers.

Library staff cannot supervise children nor act as a substitute for childcare. The responsibility for the care, safety and behaviour of the children using the library rests with the parent/caregiver. A caregiver is recommended to be age 12 and up (Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region.)

Children nine years of age and younger must not be left at the library by a parent/caregiver. If a child nine and under is attending a program in the library or near-by program room, a parent/designated caregiver must be in the library during that time.

Library staff will implement the library's Procedure on Unattended Children in the Library in these, or similar circumstances:

  • A child is alone and frightened or crying in the library
  • A child is alone and doing something dangerous, or another person in the library seems to be a danger to the child
  • A child is alone, and is not following library rules after reasonable warnings
  • A child is left alone at the library at closing time

If a child is found without a parent/caregiver, the staff will:

  1. Speak with the child and assess the situation
  2. Attempt to locate the parent/caregiver in the building
  3. Contact the parent/caregiver to pick up the child, if the parent/caregiver is not in the building. The library's operating procedure will be explained
  4. Promptly speak with the library supervisor about the situation
  5. If the parent/caregiver cannot be contacted, contact Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region
  6. If the incident has been reported to Family and Children's Services, document the incident within 24 hours and send it to the library supervisor and manager. The report will be retained at Library Headquarters in locked files for one year, unless lawful purpose dictates a longer period. An incident summary excluding personal details not needed for library purposes may be kept in confidential files at the branch for one year, after which time it will be destroyed.
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