Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Louisiana

State and Statute: Louisiana, Children’s Code Arts. 603 et seq.

What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical, sexual, emotional or mental abuse, or neglect. [601] and [603]

Mandatory Reporters: Includes clergy members; public and private school teachers, principals, aides, staff members, bus drivers, and coaches; child care providers; licensed or unlicensed day care providers; “any individual who provides such services to a child in a voluntary or professional capacity”; organizational or youth activity providers, “including administrators, employees or volunteers of any day camp, summer camp, youth center . . . or any other organization that provides organized activities for children.” [603(17)(c)(d)(i)]

How and Where to Report: “A mandatory reporter shall make a report through the designated state child protection reporting hotline telephone number (1-855-452-5437), via the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Mandated Reporter Portal online, or in person at any child welfare office.” An oral report by a mandated reporter “shall be followed by a written report made within five days” via the online portal, via mail to the department, or to local law enforcement. [610 (A.(1)(D)]

Timeline to Report: Immediately. [610(A.(1)]

Clergy Privilege: A minister “is not required to report a confidential communication, as defined in Code of Evidence Article 511, from a person to a member of the clergy who, in the course of the discipline or practice of that church, denomination, or organization, is authorized or accustomed to hearing confidential communications, and under the discipline or tenets of the church, denomination, or organization has a duty to keep such communications confidential. In that instance, he shall encourage that person to report the allegations to the appropriate authorities .…” [603(17)(c)]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: “Any person who . . . is required to report the abuse or neglect of a child and knowingly and willfully fails to so report shall be finednot more than $500 or imprisioned for not more than six months, or both.” [LA Rev Stat §14:403(A.(1)(a)]

“Any person who . . . is required to report the sexual abuse of a child, or the abuse or neglect of a child that results in the serious bodily injury, neurological impairment, or death of the child, and the person knowingly and willfully fails to so report, shall be fined not more than three thousand dollars, imprisioned, with or without hard labor, for not more than three years, or both.” [LA Rev Stat §14:403(A.(1)(b)(i))]

Any person 18 years of age or older who witnesses sexual abuse of a child “and knowingly and willfully fails to report . . . shall be fined not more than $10,000, imprisioned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both.” [LA Rev Stat §14:403(A.(4)(a)]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Louisiana have recognized civil liability.

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: Immunity from civil or criminal liability “No cause of action shall exist against any . . . (p)erson who in good faith makes a report, cooperates in any investigation arising as a result of such report, or participates in judicial proceedings.” [611(A.(1)(a))]

“Any person who reports a child as abused or neglected or sexually abused to the department or to any law enforcement agency, knowing that such information is false, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisioned for not more than six months, or both.” [LA Rev Stat §14:403(A)(3)]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: For statutory release of confidential case records, reporter’s identification is not to be included; disclosure only in situations involved suspected submission of false report. [46:56(8)(b)]

Additional Information for Louisiana

All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.

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