Help us protect Louisiana's children. Report Child Abuse & Neglect: 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Child Welfare

Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect

How can I report child abuse or neglect?

Call 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll-free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What is abuse/neglect?

The Louisiana Children’s Code provides the following definitions of abuse and neglect by a parent or caretaker:

"Caretaker" means any person legally obligated to provide or secure adequate care for a child, including a parent, tutor, guardian, legal custodian, foster home parent, an employee of a public or private day care center, an operator or employee of a registered family child day care home, or other person providing a residence for the child.

“Abuse” means any one of the following acts which seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of the child:

  • The infliction, attempted infliction, or, as a result of inadequate supervision, the allowance of the infliction or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury upon the child by a parent or any other person.

  • The exploitation or overwork of a child by a parent or any other person, including but not limited to commercial sexual exploitation of the child.

  • The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or any other person, or the aiding or toleration by the parent, caretaker, or any other person of the child's involvement in any of the following:

    • Any sexual act with any other person.

    • Pornographic displays.

    • Any sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this state.

    • A coerced abortion conducted upon a child.
    • Female genital mutilation as defined by R.S. 14:43.4.

“Neglect” means the refusal or unreasonable failure of a parent or caretaker to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, care, treatment, or counseling for any injury, illness, or condition of the child, as a result of which the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and safety is substantially threatened or impaired. Neglect includes prenatal neglect. Consistent with Article 606(B), the inability of a parent or caretaker to provide for a child due to inadequate financial resources shall not, for that reason alone, be considered neglect. Whenever, in lieu of medical care, a child is being provided treatment in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religious method of healing which has a reasonable, proven record of success, the child shall not, for that reason alone, be considered to be neglected or maltreated. However, nothing herein shall prohibit the court from ordering medical services for the child when there is substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare.

"Prenatal neglect" means exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol or the unlawful use of any controlled dangerous substance, or in a manner not lawfully prescribed, which results in symptoms of withdrawal in the newborn or the presence of a controlled substance or a metabolic thereof in his body, blood, urine, or meconium that is not the result of medical treatment, or observable and harmful effects in his physical appearance or functioning.

For more specific information on prenatal neglect, substance-exposed newborns and the associated procedures, click here.

What are the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect?

The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.  The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.

If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family.  Call the DCFS Child Protection hotline at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  More information on the signs and symptoms of child abuse/neglect.

Who are mandated reporters?

***Mandated Reporter Brochure***

Mandated reporters are any of the following individuals performing their occupational duties:

  • “Health practitioner” is any individual who provides health care services, including a physician, surgeon, physical therapist, dentist, resident, intern, hospital staff member, podiatrist, chiropractor, licensed nurse, nursing aide, dental hygienist, any emergency medical technician, paramedic, optometrist, medical examiner, or coroner who diagnoses, examines, or treats a child or his family.

  • “Mental health/social service practitioner” is any individual  who provides mental health care or social services diagnosis, assessment, counseling, or treatment, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, marriage or family counselor, social worker, member of clergy, aide, or other individual who provides counseling services to a child or his family.

  • “Member of the clergy” is any priest, rabbi, duly ordained clerical deacon or minister, Christian Science practitioner, or other similarly situated functionary of a religious organization unless not required to report a confidential communication as defined in the Code of Evidence Article 511.

  • “Teaching or child care provider” is any person who provides or assists in the teaching, training and supervision of a child, including any public or private school teacher, teacher's aide, instructional aide, school principal, school staff member, bus driver, coach, professor, technical or vocational instructor, technical or vocational school staff member, college or university administrator, college or university staff member, social worker, probation officer, foster home parent, group home or other child care institution staff member, personnel of a residential home facilities, a licensed or unlicensed daycare provider, or any individual who provides such services to a child in a voluntary or professional capacity.

  • Police officers or law enforcement officials.

  • “Commercial film and photographic print processor” is any person who develops exposed photographic film into negatives, slides, or prints, or who makes prints from negatives or slides for compensation.

  • "Mediators" appointed pursuant to Children's Code, Chapter 6 of Title IV.

  • "Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)" is any CASA volunteer under the supervision of a CASA program appointed pursuant to Chapter 4 of Title IV.

  • "Organizational or Youth Activity Provider" is any person who provides organized activities for children, including administrators, employees, or volunteers of any day camp, summer camp, youth center, or youth recreation programs or any other organization that provides organized activities for children.

  • "Coach" is any school coach including but not limited to public technical or vocational school, community college, college or university coaches and coaches of intramural or interscholastic athletics.

How Mandated Reporters File Abuse/Neglect Reports

  • Call toll-free 1-855-4LA-KIDS (855-452-5437) to speak with a trained specialist 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By law, all reports made orally by mandated reporters must be followed by a written report to DCFS within five days. This may occur either by entering a follow-up report online (see below) or by mailing a CPI-2 form to the DCFS Centralized Intake Office.
  • To report alleged abuse/neglect that does not require immediate assistance, fill out the Mandated Reporter Form online.
    • PLEASE NOTE: DCFS recommends using the Google Chrome web browser to access the online form. The form may not function fully through other web browsers. Download Google Chrome.
  • Make a report from any DCFS Child Welfare office.

Complete Mandated Reporter Training Online

After following the above link, log in to access the training. If you do not have a DCFS Moodle account, you will have to create one before accessing the training.