DCFS launches new number to report child abuse - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DCFS launches new number to report child abuse

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services:

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has launched a new toll-free number for the public to report child abuse or neglect.

The new toll-free number - 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) - replaces all previous local DCFS numbers used in the past to report child abuse to the Department. The new number is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Previously, concerned members of the public and mandated reporters had to wade through 25 parish and regional phone numbers to make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Today, calling a single number will allow the public to report to a streamlined, central system, ensuring that every report is dealt with promptly and uniformly."

To ensure that no reports are missed, the previous numbers to report child abuse have been forwarded to the new toll free number during a transition period.

Trained child welfare workers staff the new hotline, taking reports of possible child abuse and neglect from the public and mandated reporters. Mandated reporters, including law enforcement officials, teachers and childcare workers, clergy, and health practitioners, are laid out in state law, specifically the Louisiana Children's Code Title VI, Article 603.

1-855-4LA-KIDS is part of the state's new centralized intake system to report child abuse. Centralized intake ensures more consistent screening and decision making of child abuse and neglect reports statewide. It also allows local child protection investigation workers with DCFS more time in the field completing investigations.

"We developed this centralized system to help guarantee that DCFS is responding fully to the needs of Louisiana children who may be the victims of abuse or neglect," said Johnson. "A single, centralized system will help ensure that DCFS fulfills its mission to protect children at risk of abuse and neglect."

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