Safe Kids Policy

APPLICABILITY: Applies to all staff and volunteers

EFFECTIVE DATES:

BOARD PASSAGE: 06/25/2015

SECTION I --BASIC POLICY. Children are a precious gift, and Adams County Library System is committed to keeping them safe. The Adams County Library System Safe Kids Policy is a key tool in fulfilling this important responsibility.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Library Employees and Volunteers are designated as Mandatory Reporters if they have significant contact with children. Given the intimate nature of library interactions and the practical inability for the library to delineate staff members who have significant contact with children versus insignificant contact with children, all staff members of the Adams County Library System and volunteers are considered to be Mandatory Reporters.

Therefore, all staff members and volunteers must receive Clearances from appropriate agencies within the reasonable timeframe outlined here below for work in the Adams County Library System.

SECTION II --SCREENING POLICY

1. Screening applies to all paid staff and volunteers, and includes the following timeline:

• Application
• Personal interview
• Reference check
• Job offer made and accepted
• Completion of a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
• Completion of Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check
• Completion of a Federal Criminal History Record Information. (For a volunteer, this only needs to be done if the applicant has not lived in Pennsylvania for 10 years.)
• The proof of the application for the clearances must be provided to the library within 30 days of hire or volunteer activities begin. Failure to do this will result in the individual being placed on Administrative Leave.
• Completion of the Mandatory Reporter Training. This will be done under the supervision of the employees or volunteer's supervisor. Failure of this being done within 90 days of employment will result in the individual being placed on Administrative Leave.
• Clearances need to be updated every three years. Failure to do this will result in the individual being placed on Administrative Leave.
• Staff Clearance costs will be reimbursed by the Library to the employee upon their positive return.
• Volunteers will be offered an Adams County Expense Reimbursement Request Form and will be reimbursed upon request and upon receipt of a positive return. Financial inability to pay for clearances should not be a deterrent to volunteering for the Adams County Library.

2. STANDARDS FOR CLEARANCES

EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER IS CONVICTED OF CHILD SEXUAL OR PHYSICAL ABUSE These individuals shall not work in a volunteer or paid capacity and their employment or volunteer status will be terminated.

VOLUNTEER OR EMPLOYEE IS CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE: The employee or volunteer will be placed on administrative leave until the matter is clearly resolved.

DISQUALIFYING CONVICTIONS: the following criminal convictions disqualify an individual for youth work in the Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania (Reference: Section 6344 of the Child Protective Services Law):

Criminal Homicide Aggravated Assault
Harassment and stalking Kidnapping
Unlawful Restraint Rape
Sexual Assault Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
Indecent Assault Physical Abuse of a Minor
Endecent Exposure Incest
Endangering Welfare of Children           Felonly Offense Relating to Prostitution
Corruption of Minors Sexual Absue of Children

 

SECTION III --RESPONSE TO CHILD ABUSE, ACTUAL OR SUSPECTED.

SECURE CHILD'S SAFETY. Any questionable behavior or relationships involving a child shall be confronted and stopped immediately. The first priority is to ensure the safety of the child / children involved.

CONTACT THE PENNSYLVANIA CHILDLINE. In the event of actual or suspected child abuse, the staff member or volunteer shall report the abuse to Childline. The staff member should follow the procedures outlined in the State of Pennsylvania Mandatory Reporter Training.

NOTIFY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. The person who discerns it shall also report the suspected abuse to the Executive Director or Assistant Director and the individual's supervisor after contacting Childline.

WHERE THE SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE INVOLVES AN EMPLOYEE. Upon notification that an investigation involves suspected child abuse perpetrated by a staff member or volunteer, the Adams County Library System administration must immediately place the staff member or volunteer on Administrative Leave.

SECTION IV --POLICY ADMINISTRATION.

OVERALL RESPONSIBILITY. The Executive Director and Board of Trustees bear the overall responsibility for a vigorous child abuse prevention policy and related implementation program. Accordingly, the Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that (1) the Safe Kids program is implemented and sustained, (2) the policy and program are effective, (3) the program is adequately funded, staffed, and housed/equipped/supplied, and (4) staff and volunteers are adequately informed, screened, trained, etc.
RESPONSIBILITY FOR POLICY IMPLEMENTATION. The Executive Director is responsible for implementation of the Safe Kids Policy, evaluating and ensuring its effectiveness, requesting adequate funding, staffing, and facilities/equipment/supplies, overseeing the screening and selection of the people involved, providing education to all adults involved in children's activities.
AUTHORITY TO APPROVE/DISAPPROVE APPLICATIONS. The Executive Director is authorized based upon the above mentioned criteria to approve or disapprove the suitability of employment applicants, volunteers.

SECTION V --GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR STAFF INTERACTION WITH CHILDREN PROCEDURES. This section outlines preventive measures to be followed in child and youth activities.

1. GENERAL PRACTICES

A. MULTIPLE STAFF PREFERRED. Two adult supervisors are preferred when feasible during any library activity involving children or youth. Adult supervisors must be 18 years old or older.

B. EXPRESSIONS OF AFFECTION. Adults must use caution when allowing expressions of affection toward children and youth. The following practices are recommended:

  • Respect a child's/youth's refusal of affection.
  • Be aware of where you place your hands. A pat on the bottom or
  • bear hug could be misinterpreted by a child or an observer.
  • Refrain from body-to-body embraces, any touching on private areas (those areas covered by a bathing suit), and any type of kiss.