Unattended Children Policy

  1. The St. Lucie County Library System is dedicated to providing a welcoming environment that encourages children to visit the Library, use Library collections and services, and attend Library programs.
  2. Library staff is available to assist and support children with their use of Library resources; however, the library does not act “in loco parentis” and does not assume responsibility for children left unattended on Library premises. Unattended children are children of any age who are apparently unaccompanied by a parent, guardian, and/or responsible caregiver in the Library.
  3. Parents, guardians, and/or caregivers are solely responsible for the safety and behavior of their children. They are advised that children, like all Library users, are expected to comply with the Library’s “Patron Code of Conduct” and a child who violates those rules may be asked to leave Library premises.
  4. Library staff may call the police, the sheriff’s department or other appropriate County agency if a child is left unattended when a Library facility closes or if a child otherwise appears to be at risk.

Procedure

If an unattended child in need of supervision is present in the library during operating hours, and library staff is concerned about the child’s welfare or behavior, staff may approach the child. Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis according to the following factors:
  1. Age of child
  2. Length of time the child has been left unattended
  3. Behavior of the child
  4. Whether or not the child appears to be in distress, in need of assistance, care or attention

If the child is unattended staff may take the following steps:

  1. The supervisor will attempt to contact the caregiver
  2. If the caregiver cannot be reached, two staff (the supervisor, plus one other staff member) must wait to see if the child is picked up.
  3. If the caregiver cannot be reached, or if the caregiver has not arrived within 20 minutes after the library’s closing time, the police will be called and the child turned over to the authorities.

Approved by the Library Advisory Board July 7, 2014