Louisiana Children’s Code

Title VI. Child in Need of Care

Chapter 5. Child Abuse Reporting and Investigation

 

Art. 610         Reporting procedure; report to the legislature

 

A. Reports of child abuse or neglect or that such was a contributing factor in a child’s death, where the abuser is believed to be a parent or caretaker, a person who maintains an interpersonal dating or engagement relationship with the parent or caretaker, or a person living in the same residence with the parent or caretaker as a spouse whether married or not, shall be made immediately to the department through the designated state child protection reporting hotline telephone number. Reports in which the abuse or neglect is believed to be perpetrated by someone other than a caretaker, a person who maintains an interpersonal dating or engagement relationship with the parent or caretaker, or a person living in the same residence with the parent or caretaker as a spouse whether married or not, and the caretaker is not believed to have any responsibility for the abuse or neglect shall be made immediately to a local or state law enforcement agency. Dual reporting to both the department through the designated state child protection reporting hotline telephone number and the local or state law enforcement agency is permitted. 

 

B. The report shall contain the following information, if known: 

 

(1) The name, address, age, sex, and race of the child. 

 

(2) The nature, extent, and cause of the child’s injuries or endangered condition, including any previous known or suspected abuse to this child or the child’s siblings. 

 

(3) The name and address of the child’s parent(s) or other caretaker. 

 

(4) The names and ages of all other members of the child’s household. 

 

(5) The name and address of the reporter. 

 

(6) An account of how this child came to the reporter’s attention. 

 

(7) Any explanation of the cause of the child’s injury or condition offered by the child, the caretaker, or any other person. 

 

(8) The number of times the reporter has filed a report on the child or the child’s siblings. 

 

(9) Any other information which the reporter believes might be important or relevant. 

 

C. The report shall also name the person or persons who are thought to have caused or contributed to the child’s condition, if known, and the report shall contain the name of such person if he is named by the child. 

 

D. If the initial report was in oral form by a mandatory reporter, it shall be followed by a written report made within five days to the local child protection unit of the department or, if necessary to the local law enforcement agency. The reporter may use a form for the written report, which shall be developed, approved and made available by the Department of Children and Family Services. The form is optional and may be available electronically on the department’s website. 

 

E. (1) All reports made to any local or state law enforcement agency involving abuse or neglect in which the child’s parent or caretaker, a person who maintains an interpersonal dating or engagement relationship with the parent or caretaker, or a person living in the same residence with the parent or caretaker as a spouse whether married or not, is believed responsible, shall be promptly communicated to the department through the designated state child protection reporting hotline telephone number in accordance with a written working agreement developed between the local law enforcement agency and the department. 

 

(2) The department shall promptly communicate abuse or neglect cases not involving a parent, caretaker, or occupant of the household to the appropriate law enforcement agency in accordance with a written working agreement developed between the department and law enforcement agency. The department also shall report all cases of child death which involve a suspicion of abuse or neglect as a contributing factor in the child’s death to the local and state law enforcement agencies, the office of the district attorney, and the coroner. 

 

(3) Reports involving a felony-grade crime against a child shall be promptly communicated to the appropriate law enforcement authorities as part of the interagency protocols for multidisciplinary investigations of child abuse and neglect in each judicial district as provided in Articles 509 and 510. 

 

F. Any commercial film or photographic print processor who has knowledge of or observes, within the scope of this professional capacity or employment, any film, photograph, video tape, negative, or slide depicting a child who he knows or should know is under the age of seventeen years, which constitutes child pornography as defined in Article 603, shall report immediately to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the case. The reporter shall provide a copy of the film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide to the agency receiving the report. 

 

<Text of par. G effective until appropriation of sufficient funds> 

 

G. If a physician has cause to believe that a mother of an infant unlawfully used during pregnancy a controlled dangerous substance, as defined by R.S. 40:961 et seq., the physician shall order a toxicology test upon the infant, without the consent of the infant’s parents or guardian, to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal neglect. If the test results are positive, the physician shall report the results, as soon as possible, in accordance with this Article. If the test results are negative, all identifying information shall be obliterated if the record is retained, unless the parent approves the inclusion of identifying information. Positive test results shall not be admissible in a criminal prosecution. 

 

<Text of par. G effective upon appropriation of sufficient funds> 

 

G. (1) If a physician has cause to believe that a newborn was exposed in utero to an unlawfully used controlled dangerous substance, as defined by R.S. 40:961 et seq., the physician shall order a toxicology test upon the newborn, without the consent of the newborn’s parents or guardian, to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal neglect. If the test results are positive, the physician shall issue a report, as soon as possible, in accordance with this Article. If the test results are negative, all identifying information shall be obliterated if the record is retained, unless the parent approves the inclusion of identifying information. Positive test results shall not be admissible in a criminal prosecution. 

 

(2) If there are symptoms of withdrawal in the newborn or other observable and harmful effects in his physical appearance or functioning that a physician has cause to believe are due to the chronic or severe use of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy, the physician shall issue a report in accordance with this Article. 

 

H. (1) The provisions of this Paragraph shall be known and may be cited as The Alfred C. Williams Child Protection Act. 

 

(2) Beginning May 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, the department shall provide to the legislature the following child-specific information regarding reports of child abuse or neglect reported to the department pursuant to the provisions of this Article: 

 

(a) The actual or estimated age, the sex, and the race of each child at the time the latest report was received. 

 

(b) The parish location of primary case name of the latest report accepted for investigation received. 

 

(c) The categories, levels, and final findings assigned to each allegation contained in reports received for each child. 

 

(d) The number of cases accepted for investigation in which the child was an alleged or valid victim during the report year. 

 

(e) The number of cases accepted for investigation in which the child was a valid victim during the report year. 

 

(f) The number of reports accepted for investigation prior to report year in which the child was an alleged or valid victim. 

 

(g) The number of other alleged victims in reports accepted for investigation in each child’s cases prior to report year. 

 

(h) The number of reports accepted for investigation prior to the report year in which the child was a valid victim. 

 

(i) The number of other validated victims in reports accepted for investigation in each child’s cases prior to report year. 

 

(j) The number of distinct reporter names for all investigations in which the child is an alleged or valid victim.

 

(3) For purposes of this Paragraph, the following words shall have the following meanings: 

 

(a) “Alleged victim” includes a child who is the subject of an investigation and for whom there is an allegation of abuse or neglect. 

 

(b) “Valid victim” or “validated victim” includes an alleged victim for whom one or more allegations of abuse or neglect have been determined to be justified pursuant to Article 615. 

 

(4) The information provided in the annual report required by Subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph shall not include the name, street address, or other identifying information of any child, parent, sibling, or reporter. 

 

(5) If the department fails to submit timely the report required by Subparagraph (2) of this Paragraph, then the legislature or either house thereof, through its authorized representative, may petition the Nineteenth Judicial District Court for writs of mandamus to compel the submission of the report. Any failure to obey a writ of mandamus issued by the court may be punishable by the court as contempt thereof. 

 

Added by Acts 1991, No. 235, § 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1992. Amended by Acts 1997, No. 1103, § 1, eff. July 14, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 1178, § 1, eff. July 9, 1999; Acts 2004, No. 75, § 1, eff. May 28, 2004; Acts 2004, No. 78, § 1, eff. May 28, 2004; Acts 2006, No. 157, § 1; Acts 2007, No. 396, § 1; Acts 2012, No. 268, § 2, eff. May 25, 2012; Acts 2012, No. 614, § 2, eff. June 7, 2012; Acts 2016, No. 302, § 1.