Rachel Kohl Community Library

687 SMITHBRIDGE RD., GLEN MILLS, PA 19342 | 610.358.3445

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Child Safety Policy

Rachel Kohl Community Library

November 2015

 

 

This Child Safety Policy (the “Policy”) has been established at the Rachel Kohl Community Library (the “Library”) in order to protect children (individuals under age 18) who use the Library from verbal, physical, or sexual abuse or misconduct while using the Library and to provide clear rules for our staff and volunteers who work with children.

 

Section 1.  General Requirements for Employees and Volunteers.      

 

A.  Applicants for Library Employees or Adult Volunteer Positions at the Library

 

All new Library employees and adult volunteers (age 18 or older) who work with minors must be evaluated and approved before beginning work.  The evaluation and approval process is as follows:

 

1.     Documentation:

 

·         A written application that provides one reference, unrelated to the applicant, who has observed the applicant’s interaction with the relevant age group;

·         Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check; and

·         Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.

 

Applicants for adult volunteer positions who have resided in Pennsylvania for more than ten (10) continuous years at the time of application shall also submit:

 

·            Rachel Kohl Community Library Volunteer Certification Form

 

All applications for paid Library employee positions and certain applications for unpaid volunteer positions where the volunteer applicant has resided in Pennsylvania for less than ten (10) continuous years prior to the time of application shall submit in addition to the above documentation:

 

·         Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check.

All background checks submitted by Employees and adult volunteers pursuant to this Section shall be maintained on file at the Library and must be renewed every five (5) years.

 

2.             Interview:  All applicants for an Library employee or adult volunteer position shall have an in-person interview with the Library Director or other designated Library employee.

 

 

 

 

B.   Required Documentation for Current Library Employees and Adult Volunteers

 

            1.  All Library employees of the Library commencing as of the date of the adoption of this Policy shall submit to the Library Director the following:

 

·         Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check; and

·         Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.

·         Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check.

 

2.  All adult Library volunteers who have resided in Pennsylvania for more than ten (10) continuous years at the time of the adoption of this Policy shall submit to the Library Director the following:

 

·         Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check; and

·         Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.

·         Rachel Kohl Community Library Volunteer Certification Form

 

3.  All adult Library volunteers who have resided in Pennsylvania for less than ten (10) continuous years at the time of the adoption of this Policy shall submit to the Library Director the following:

 

·         Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Records Check; and

·         Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance.

·         Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Background Check.

 

C.  Working with Children:

 

1.  No adult volunteer or Library employee is permitted to be alone in a room with a child, unless both parties are clearly visible at all times.  If both parties are not clearly visible, then the Library employee or adult Library volunteer will be required to find another Library employee or adult Library volunteer to be present.  This “minimum two person rule” rule will apply in any situations involving children, whether they are Library volunteers or patrons.

 

2.  Discretion is necessary in regards to physical contact with children. We want our patrons to feel comfortable with staff and volunteers, and feelings of affection, particularly from younger children, are to be expected.  However, it is important to remember that a friendly hug or touch may be perceived otherwise.

 

3.  Library employees and adult Library volunteers should never attempt to physically remove a child from the library building or property. If a child is behaving in an improper manner and refuses to leave on his or her own, staff should attempt to contact a parent or guardian. If this is unsuccessful, law enforcement officials should be contacted.

 

4.  The Library will not permit or sanction corporal punishment of any kind or verbal threats by its Library employees or volunteers.

 

5.  Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse:  Library employees and adult volunteers are considered mandatory reporters for the purposes of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services law, 23 Pa C.S.A. § 6301 et seq.  Accordingly:

 

             a)  If during the course of their employment or volunteer service while in the Library, any Employee or adult volunteer observes any incident that gives him or her reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse, or if an individual fourteen (14) years of age or older makes a specific disclosure to the Employee or adult volunteer that the individual has committed child abuse, then that Library Employee or adult volunteer is required under Pennsylvania law, to personally make an immediate and direct report of suspected child abuse to ChildLine either electronically at www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling 1-800-932-0313.   It is no longer sufficient under Pennsylvania law, to merely notify the supervisor on duty, but such notification is also necessary, as stated infra.

 

b)  After making the report to ChildLine, mandated reporters are required to immediately thereafter notify the person in charge of the institution, school, facility or agency or the designated agent of the person in charge.

 

6.   Any Employee or adult volunteer who has concerns related to the safety of children including, but not limited to inadequate housing, clothing and supervision, may contact ChildLine or the county children and youth agency for assessment as general protective services cases.

 

D.  Student Volunteers:

 

We are happy to have volunteers of any age. Teen volunteers add a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to an event or program. To ensure a positive experience for all, we have the following additional requirements for student volunteers:

 

·         Written parental permission must be on file for all volunteers under the age of 18, along with emergency contact information.

 

·         While student volunteers may supervise a program or event, an adult Library employee Library volunteer must also be present at all times.

 

E.  Additional Requirements for Library Volunteers

 

We want every patron, Library employee and volunteer to feel safe, comfortable, and welcomed at our library. For that reason, volunteers who exhibit any of the following will not be permitted to work with minors:

 

·         Contagious illness that may be spread through normal contact (airborne, touch, etc.).

 

·         Extreme emotionality or repeated emotional outbursts.

 

·         Engaging in threats, slurs, sexual epithets, jokes about gender-specific traits or sexual orientation, or consistent rudeness.

 

·         Derogatory remarks or general condescending attitude towards children of any age.

 

Section 2.  Children in the Library

 

Library employees and volunteers shall make every effort to ensure the Library is safe and secure; however, it is recognized that they will be unable to monitor the behavior or whereabouts of each patron, whether an adult or a child.  The Library is not a daycare or babysitting service, and library staff cannot assume responsibility for children left at the library.   Accordingly, library users shall adhere to the following rules:

 

1.  Children age nine (9) or below:  Children age nine (9) or below must be accompanied at all times by a responsible person age fourteen (14) or older. The only exception is for children attending a library program: these children may be in the program area by themselves, as long as their caregiver is in the Library building.

 

2.  Children over the age of nine (9):  If children over age nine (9) are in the Library building without a parent or guardian, it is assumed that the parent or guardian feels the child is able to take care of him or herself. The Library reserves the right, however, to require children over the age of nine (9) to have a parent or guardian present if the child is not adhering to the Library code of conduct.

 

3.  Children of all ages: 

 

a)   All children who use the Library are expected to follow the same code of conduct as adults. If at any time this code of conduct is broken, and warnings by Library employees or volunteers are ignored, the child will be told to contact a parent to pick him or her up.  If a parent cannot be contacted after efforts are made, then the library reserves the right to contact law enforcement officials for assistance.

 

b)  All children must be picked up by library closing time. Library employees and volunteers cannot be expected to remain after hours to supervise children. If Library employees or volunteers determine it is unsafe to leave a child waiting outside the library after hours, and individuals responsible for the child cannot be reached, law enforcement officials will be called.

 

c)  Children and persons responsible for children while using the Library are encouraged to locate a Library employee or volunteer if another patron is making them feel threatened or uncomfortable.