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CHILD AND VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION POLICY

Adopted by Administration and the Board of Trustees of the Lake County Public Library - 10/28/2021

This policy applies to all Lake County Public Library (LCPL) buildings and offsite events.

Child: Individual who is less than 18 years of age

Vulnerable Adult: Individual aged 18 or over whose ability to protect themself from violence, abuse or neglect is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability, illness, advanced age or otherwise

Staff: Employees of the Library who have contact with children and vulnerable adults in connection with their work duties

Volunteer: Individuals who have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults in connection with their volunteer activities at the Library

LCPL seeks to provide a safe and secure environment for children and vulnerable adults who visit the Library or are involved in Library programs and activities. The Library’s goal is to protect youth from incidents of misconduct or inappropriate behavior while also protecting staff and volunteers from false accusations.

LCPL encourages and welcomes children and vulnerable adults of all ages to use its facilities and services and to participate in its programs and activities. However, responsibility for the safety and behavior of children and vulnerable adults while at the Library rests solely with the parent, guardian or authorized caregiver and not with Library staff or volunteers. The following policies apply with respect to children and vulnerable adults on Library premises:

  • Library Staff and volunteers are not responsible for monitoring or supervising the safety and behavior of children or vulnerable adults on Library premises.
  • The parent or guardian of children or vulnerable adults on Library premises is solely responsible for ensuring the children or vulnerable adults are appropriately supervised and for the safety and behavior of the children or vulnerable adults.
  • If a child’s or vulnerable adult's behavior becomes disruptive to the operations of the Library, to other patrons or to Library staff, appropriate action in accordance with the Library’s policies and practices will be taken.

Staff and Volunteer Interaction with Children or Vulnerable Adults

The following policies apply with respect to interaction with children or vulnerable adults by Library staff and volunteers:

Staff and volunteers shall not accept or assume the responsibility for monitoring or supervising the safety and behavior of children or vulnerable adults on Library premises.

  • Staff and Volunteers shall not contact or communicate with children or vulnerable adults outside of the operations, programs and activities of the Library unless they have a prior, independent relationship with the children or vulnerable adults.
  • Staff and volunteers shall not in the presence or hearing of children or vulnerable adults use profanities, vulgarities; sexual innuendo, banter or jokes; or emotionally abusive language.
  • Staff and volunteers shall not share pornography or other obscene material with children or vulnerable adults Staff and volunteers shall not give or accept gifts or money without prior authorization from the employee’s supervisor.
  • Staff and volunteers shall not engage in conduct that involves using physical contact with a child or vulnerable adult (including without limitation touching, hugging, or kissing)
  • Staff and volunteers shall not engage in conduct that involves using physical contact to discipline a child or vulnerable adult (including without limitation touching, striking or hitting the child or vulnerable adult) except in the case of a necessity related to the health and welfare of the child, vulnerable adult, Library patrons, or Library staff or volunteers.
  • Staff and volunteers will not be in one-on-one no-visibility situations with children or vulnerable adults.
  • Staff and volunteers, to the extent possible and when feasible, should keep doors to rooms where programs and activities involving children and vulnerable adults are conducted open during the program or activity unless there is a window in the door or a window to the room.
  • Staff and volunteers should ensure that doors to rooms where programs and activities involving children and vulnerable adults are conducted should never be locked during the program or activity.
  • Staff and volunteers shall never assist any child or vulnerable adult with restroom usage. Any child or vulnerable adult too young or otherwise unable to provide for themselves regarding restroom usage should have a parent, guardian or authorized caregiver present to assist them.
  • Library staff shall not leave volunteers unattended with children and vulnerable adults.
  • Staff and volunteers are not permitted to remain alone after closing time with a child or vulnerable adult. Staff and volunteers will not give a child or vulnerable adult a ride home. Staff will not transport children or vulnerable adults to or from offsite activities.

Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Child Safety in Public Libraries

Indiana Code (IC 31-33-5) requires that any individual who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect must immediately report such directly to the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) or to a local law enforcement agency. This mandatory reporting requirement includes reporting child abuse, including any sex offense against a child, committed by any Library Staff or Volunteers while on Library premises or while attending an offsite Library event. The following reporting procedures apply if a Library employee or volunteer has reason to believe that an act of child abuse or neglect has occurred, by any person, including any Library employee or volunteer:

  • The Library employee or volunteer shall themselves immediately report the occurrence directly to DCS or local law enforcement. DCS operates a toll-free hotline (1-800-800-5556) for people to call and report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
  • The Library employee or volunteer shall immediately report the occurrence to the Library’s Director.
  • The Director shall also report the occurrence to DCS or local law enforcement.
  • Director shall inform the Library Board of Trustee of the situation in an Executive Board session.
  • If the alleged child abuse or neglect involves allegations against a Library employee or volunteer, the Library employee or volunteer shall be immediately suspended from employment and/or volunteer activities pending the investigation of the allegations.
  • The Library’s Director shall immediately notify the Library’s liability insurance provider.
  • All Library employees and volunteers shall cooperate with any investigation of the incident by state or local authorities.
  • If the alleged child abuse or neglect involves allegations against a Library employee or volunteer, the Library’s Director will investigate the circumstances of the alleged child abuse or neglect.
  • Any Library employee or volunteer who is not determined to be innocent of the alleged child abuse or neglect shall be subject to permanent removal from any contact with children and vulnerable adults in connection with their work duties or volunteer activities as well as additional corrective and disciplinary action up to and including termination as an employee or volunteer as appropriate.

Reporting Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Neglect 

The same reporting procedure should be followed for any suspected acts of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults as stated with children with the exception of notifying the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”).

Children and Vulnerable Adults Protection Training

All Library staff and volunteers will be trained regarding youth protection issues. Such training for Staff and volunteers shall involve a review of the Library’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy and Indiana’s mandatory child abuse and neglect reporting requirements.

Upcoming Events
Sat, Aug 20, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room
Bring your craft projects from home and join us to chat with fellow crafters and work on your project without the interruptions of home.... more
Bring your craft projects from home and join us to chat with fellow crafters and work on your project without the interruptions of home. All are welcome.

Sat, Aug 20, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Hobart - Programming Room
A selection of board games will be provided for you and fellow teens to play. Registration is required. Ages 12 - 18

Mon, Aug 22, 12:30pm - 2:30pm
Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
De-stress and relax with pencils and coloring sheets provided by the library -- or bring your own!

Mon, Aug 22, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A
Play Scrabble or other games with friends and meet new ones. Games will be provided but feel free to bring your own. Join the fun!

Mon, Aug 22, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room
Join us at the library to create your own scarecrow decoration. Registration is required. Supplies will be provided. Ages 15 and up.

Mon, Aug 22, 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Hobart - Large Meeting Room
Discover how the interview process has changed. Also, learn what you can do to prepare for face-to-face, virtual, or phone interviews.

Tue, Aug 23, 10:00am - 1:00pm
Hobart - Large Meeting Room
Bring your current painting projects/materials for an opportunity to chat and create!

Tue, Aug 23, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Highland - Meeting Room A
Join the Fact or Fiction Book Club in discussing "My Last Continent" by Midge Raymond. Copies are available at the Highland Branch.

Tue, Aug 23, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Dyer-Schererville - Dyer-Schererville Zoom Room
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Girl with the Louding Voice" by Abe Daré. Books for this Zoom discussion can be picked up at... more
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Girl with the Louding Voice" by Abe Daré. Books for this Zoom discussion can be picked up at the Dyer-Schererville branch a month prior to the event.

Tue, Aug 23, 4:00pm - 5:45pm
Cedar Lake - Cedar Lake - Public Tables
Bring yarn and a size H crochet hook or size 7 knitting needles and cotton yarn ... or bring along a project you're already working on!

Tue, Aug 23, 7:00pm - 8:15pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room
Using the latest research findings, Dr. Luke Leisman of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle will discuss if there are galaxies we... more
Using the latest research findings, Dr. Luke Leisman of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle will discuss if there are galaxies we can't see and how galaxies form.

Wed, Aug 24, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
St. John - Large Meeting Room
Bring your favorite yarn or thread project and enjoy some great company while you create! All crafters and crafts are welcome!

Wed, Aug 24, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Cedar Lake - Meeting Room A
Learn the basic concepts to start your family tree research. This includes where do I start, what records do I need and how do I put... more
Learn the basic concepts to start your family tree research. This includes where do I start, what records do I need and how do I put everything together.

Thu, Aug 25, 11:15am - 1:15pm
Griffith-Calumet Twp - Meeting Room
Like to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, or do any other craft? Every Thursday, bring and work on your own project while enjoying the... more
Like to cross-stitch, knit, crochet, or do any other craft? Every Thursday, bring and work on your own project while enjoying the company of others.

Thu, Aug 25, 11:15am - 12:30pm
Dyer-Schererville - Meeting Room Whole (A & B)
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Girl with the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the... more
The Between the Lines Book Club reads "The Girl with the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré. Books for this discussion can be picked up at the Dyer-Schererville branch a month prior to the event.

Thu, Aug 25, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Munster - Large Meeting Room
Join us for an informal and relaxed discussion of Jennifer Haigh's "Faith." Copies are available at the Munster branch.

Thu, Aug 25, 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Lake Station-New Chicago - Large Meeting Room
Celebrate the 83rd anniversary of the Wizard of Oz's premiere with a family viewing in the large meeting room. Rated G. 1 hr 52 min

Thu, Aug 25, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Merrillville - Staff Meeting Room
Meeting of the Lake County Public Library Board of Trustees

Sat, Aug 27, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Merrillville - Meeting Room B
Interested in any of the needle arts including knit, crochet, cross-stitch, and more? Join us for an opportunity to chat and create. ... more
Interested in any of the needle arts including knit, crochet, cross-stitch, and more? Join us for an opportunity to chat and create. Bring your own projects.
This event is full