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Louisiana.gov  >   DCFS   >  Child Welfare High Contrast Version   |   Text Size: Increase Text SizeDecrease Text Size
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Reporting Child Abuse or 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 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 other person.
  • The exploitation or overwork of a child by a parent or any other person.
  • The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or any other person, or the aiding or toleration by the parent or any other person of the child’s sexual involvement with another person or of the child’s involvement in pornographic displays, or any other involvement of a child in sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this state.
  • The coercion of a child into having an abortion

“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 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.  It is the unlawful use by a mother during pregnancy of a controlled dangerous substance that results in symptoms of withdrawal in the infant or the presence of a controlled substance in the infant’s body.

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 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 day care 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 of 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.
What form do mandated reporters use to report abuse/neglect?

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.

What is Prenatal Neglect and who is a mandated reporter?

Children’s Code Article 603(16.1) states:  "Prenatal Neglect means the unlawful use by a mother during pregnancy of a controlled dangerous substance, as defined by R.S. 40:961 et seq., which results in symptoms of withdrawal in the infant or the presence of a controlled substance in the infant's body."

Physicians are mandated to make a report to DCFS by calling 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whenever an infant meets the criteria for prenatal neglect.