DCFS responds to Gov. Jindal order regarding reporting abuse - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DCFS responds to Gov. Jindal order regarding reporting abuse

The following is a press release from the Department of Child & Family Services: 

BATON ROUGE - With Governor Bobby Jindal's Executive Order today requiring higher education officials to report incidents of child abuse and neglect, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reminds mandated reporters and the public to report suspected child abuse or neglect by calling 1-855-4LA-KIDS.

DCFS' statewide, toll-free hotline, 1-855-4LA-KIDS, is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for anyone to report suspected child abuse or neglect by a parent or caretaker. Reports of child abuse at the hands of anyone other than a parent or caretaker should be reported to local or state law enforcement.

The Louisiana Children's Code defines "caretaker" as 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.

"We urge all citizens to protect children by calling 1-855-4LA-KIDS to report suspected child abuse or neglect. This is the first step in ensuring that children are safe from abuse," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "The role of mandated reporters is an essential and integral part of the entire community effort and responsibility to protect children who are at risk of child abuse or neglect."

In Louisiana, mandated reporters include professionals who may work with children in the course of their professional duties. Specifically, the law names as mandated reporters health practitioners, members of the clergy, mental health and social service practitioners, teachers and child care providers, police officers and law enforcement officials, commercial film and photographic print processors, mediators, parenting coordinators and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Now with Governor Jindal's executive order, all public technical or vocational school, community college, college or university professors, administrators, coaches and other school employees are mandated to report suspected abuse or neglect.

Willful failure by mandated reporters to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor subject to a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment not to exceed six months or both. State law protects the identity of all mandated reporters and grants immunity from legal liability as a result of reports made in good faith.

Following an oral report, mandated reporters also must submit a written report within five days. A form for this purpose, instructions for submitting a follow-up written report and additional information are available at www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportChildAbuse.


The following is a press release from The Office of the Governor:

Gov. Jindal Issues Executive Order Requiring Higher Education Officials to Report Incidents of Child Abuse

BATON ROUGE –Today, Governor Bobby Jindal issued an Executive Order requiring all public technical or vocational school, community college, college, or university professors, administrators, coaches and other school employees to  report child abuse or neglect within 24 hours of observing an incident of child abuse or neglect to the local child protection unit and a local or state law enforcement agency. 

EXECUTIVE ORDER ON SUPPLEMENTAL MANDATORY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT

WHEREAS,              we must always be vigilant in protecting our children and creating a safe environment for them; 

WHEREAS,              certain persons currently are required to report incidents of child abuse or neglect, including health practitioners, social workers, law enforcement officers, film and photographic print processors, child care providers and certain teachers and school staff members who provide training and supervision of children;

WHEREAS,              current mandatory reporting laws do not require college or university professors, administrators, coaches or school staff members to report cases of child abuse or neglect when they have cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of the abuse or neglect;

WHEREAS,              More than 11,000 high school students in Louisiana are enrolled in dual enrollment courses for credit, many of which are taught on postsecondary campuses and by postsecondary faculty and, therefore, it is highly likely that Louisiana technical or vocational school, community college, college and university professors, administrators, coaches and other school employees will have contact with or be responsible for the supervision of children through these and other cross-curricular, athletic, and cultural activities; and

WHEREAS,              the health, safety and best interests of our children is of paramount concern for all Louisianians and it is appropriate and necessary that the State do everything within its means to ensure that suspected cases of abuse and neglect of our children are reported to the proper authorities;

NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:

SECTION 1:              All public technical or vocational school, community college, college, or university professors, administrators, coaches and other school employees shall report child abuse or neglect as soon as possible once observing an incident of child abuse or neglect or learning of an incident of child abuse or neglect and that person has cause to believe that child abuse or neglect actually occurred.

SECTION 2:              The report shall be made to the local child protection unit of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services and a local or state law enforcement agency.  The report shall contain the information, if known, required by Ch. C. Art. 610 (B) and (C).

SECTION 3:              "Child" shall be defined as in Ch. C. Art. 603 (5), and "abuse" and "neglect" shall be defined as in Ch. C. Art. 603 (1) and (16). 

SECTION 4:              This Order is effective upon signature and shall continue in effect until amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded by the Governor, or terminated by operation of law.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the City of Baton Rouge, on this 16th day of November, 2011.                                 

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