Child Care

Some court facilities are being built with day care facilities for children of court employees or temporary child care services for children accompanying their parents to court. The provision of day or child care services in the courthouse depends on the preferences of the facility owners and users.

Factors to consider:

  1. Proximity to outdoor exercise and recreation facilities. Because urban court facilities are often multi-story buildings located in densely urban areas, outdoor recreational space is often unavailable.
  2. Cost and operational implications. Court facility construction may range from $200 to over $300 a square foot. Space for a child care facility located in the courthouse may be much more expensive that what could be found elsewhere. The advantage, however, is that persons coming to the courthouse with their small children would have a place where their children could be cared for so that they do not disrupt or delay the proceedings.
  3. Security. This is probably the most important consideration. The location of a child care facility in a public building that may be the target of bomb threats or other acts of violence should be carefully considered. An alternative is to locate the facility in a near-by building.
  4. Licensing and adherence to regulations and standards may make the provision of such services too expensive.

Child care facilities require work stations or private offices for supervisors, a paging system to call parents, and durable furnishings designed for children. The facility should be equipped with restrooms suitable for children, a kitchenette, and storage space for toys and supplies. The rooms should be soundproof and removed from the major public circulation areas.

In lieu of providing licensed day care within or near the courthouse, courts, especially juvenile and domestic relations courts, find it beneficial to provide a child-friendly waiting room or area where a parent or other supervising adult can watch over the child or children. The room should be located away from heavily congested areas and should be sufficiently acoustically isolated so as not to disturb others or courtroom proceedings.