Intake occurs at the local level with reports being received by the local office which has the responsibility to investigate the report. Reports are screened to determine if the reported information constitutes a report of child abuse and/or neglect that the Office of Community Services should investigate. Louisiana R.S. 14:403, and the Louisiana Children's Code provide the legal criteria for a child abuse/neglect report as follows. The report must concern:
(1) an alleged child victim under the age of eighteen,
(2) a parent or caretaker as the alleged perpetrator or with alleged or unknown culpability in the maltreatment, and
(3) an allegation that the condition of the child presents a substantial risk of harm to his health or welfare.
The child protection investigation worker investigates the allegations made by the reporter in order to determine whether or not a child has been abused and/or neglected. In addition to the determination of the validity of the report, the worker is responsible for assessing the risk of further harm or injury to a child victim.
Who can receive the service?
Children alleged to be neglected, abused, exploited, or without proper custody or guardianship.
How long can the service be received?
The service can be received for as long as it takes to complete the child protection investigation. Once the investigation has been completed, the child protection investigation process is terminated with the closure of the case if the finding is invalid, or transfer of the case to the Family Services Program if it is valid and there is a need for ongoing intervention.
If the child abuse and/or neglect is serious enough to warrant removal of the child from the home, the case is staffed prior to the removal and an instanter order is obtained from a juvenile court judge. The child is then placed in foster care. However, prior to removal, staff are required by P.L. 96-272 to make reasonable efforts to prevent the removal.
How does one access the service?
Contact the local parish office of the Office Community Services or call the child protection hotline in their area.
Where and when can the service be accessed?
Child Protection services are available day and night by calling the child protection hotline or calling the local parish office of the Office of Community Services [see directory of parish offices].
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