Council management have recently revised its Child Protection Policy which includes how employees should respond to any suspected or actual abuse or welfare concerns relating to children and young people who visit Council facilities.
The revised policy aligns with industry best practice, and also includes expectations surrounding child supervision within Council facilities.
Council People & Capability Manager Sarah Mosley says the Council is committed to protecting the safety of children and young people who visit Council-provided facilities, but it is important for the community to know that Council employees are not de-facto caregivers.
"We have had a couple of close calls regarding the safety of unsupervised children and communicating our expectations with the community about child supervision and welfare is an important step in preventing a tragedy from occurring.”
Children under the age of 14 may be left by a parent or caregiver at a Council facility (such as the EA Networks Centre, Ashburton Library or Ashburton Museum) if they are attending a Council programme that provides supervision and does not require a caregiver to stay.
At all other times, parents and caregivers retain full responsibility for their child's welfare.
If the welfare of a child or young person is of serious concern, Council staff will contact the Police immediately. Where concern relates to an unsupervised child, Council staff will first try and make contact with parents or caregivers but if unsuccessful, will then contact the Police.