Children's Waiting Rooms In Courthouses

What do you do when you are a busy, working Mom of three who has been called and selected to serve on a jury?  You freak out, because you have no idea what to do with all that downtime and you take yourself for a walk.  My walk led me to the cafeteria for a cookie.  It also led me  right past the Free Children's Waiting Room.

Now, in my younger days, I spent a good deal of time working in a courthouse.  I am pretty familiar with the environment.   The Free Children's Waiting Room, however, was something totally new to me. The Children's Waiting room is essentially free daycare.  It has a trained staff and a director. It welcomes children between the ages of 2 1/2 and 13-years-old. The room is open during court business hours.

The Children's Waiting Room should really be called the Children's Oasis, because that's what this place is.  The room's brightly decorated windows and cheerful decor are in stark contrast to the seemingly strict and sometimes frightening courthouse interior.   It provides books, art activities, and most importantly a safe and supervised environment for your child.   The staff are trained.

The motive behind the Children's Waiting room is pretty simple.  The courtroom or court house halls are not a great place for children.  Sure they can learn a lot from an occasional visit to a courthouse, but hanging out there for the day or several days probably isn't the best idea.   Kids don't really need to know all the ins and outs of their parents legal woes.  Nor do they need to spend the day mingling with alleged or convicted criminals.  Plus, the court house really doesn't want dozens upon dozens of kids running around it's halls while they are trying to conduct business. Thus someone somewhere came up with the brilliant solution of a Children's Waiting Room.  I, for one, salute all the court houses across the country that have raised funds and have established these Free Children's Waiting Rooms.

Photo: This is not the Children's Waiting Room of the Courthouse I visited. This is an example of another Children's Waiting Room found at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City, California. Link

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