Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Louisiana

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Physical Abuse

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

'Abuse' means any one of the following acts that seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of the child:

  • The infliction; attempted infliction; or, as a result of inadequate supervision, the allowance of the infliction or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury upon the child by a parent or any other person
  • Exploitation or overwork of a child by a parent or any other person, including, but not limited to, commercial sexual exploitation of the child
  • A coerced abortion conducted upon a child

The term 'crime against the child' shall include the commission of or the attempted commission of any of the following crimes against the child as provided by Federal or State statutes:

  • Homicide
  • Assault or battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal neglect
  • Cruelty to juveniles
  • Contributing to the delinquency or dependency of children
  • Sale of minor children
  • Human trafficking

Neglect

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

'Neglect' means the refusal or unreasonable failure of a parent or caregiver to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, care, treatment, or counseling for any injury, illness, or condition of the child, and as a result the child's physical, mental, or emotional health and safety is substantially threatened or impaired. Neglect includes prenatal neglect.

'Prenatal neglect' means exposure to chronic or severe use of alcohol, the unlawful use of any controlled dangerous substance, or the use of a controlled dangerous substance in a manner not lawfully prescribed that results in symptoms of withdrawal in the newborn or the presence of a controlled substance or a metabolic thereof in the child's body, blood, urine, or meconium that is not the result of medical treatment or observable and harmful effects in the child's physical appearance or functioning.

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

The term 'abuse' means any one of the following acts that seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of the child:

  • The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or any other person or the aiding or toleration by the parent, caregiver, or any other person of the child's involvement in any of the following:
    • Any sexual act with any other person
    • Pornographic displays
    • Any sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this State
  • Female genital mutilation, as defined by Rev. Stat. § 14:43.4, of the child or of a sister of the child

'Commercial sexual exploitation' means involvement of the child in human trafficking or trafficking of children for sexual purposes, as prohibited by Rev. Stat. §§ 14:46.2 and 46.3, or any prostitution-related offense, as prohibited by Rev. Stat. §§ 81.1, 81.3, 82, 82.1, 82.2, 83, 83.1, 83.2, 83.3, 83.4, 84, 85, 86, 89.2, 104, 105, and 282.

'Child pornography' means visual depiction of a child engaged in actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals.

The term 'crime against the child' shall include the commission of or the attempted commission of any of the following crimes against the child, as provided by Federal or State statutes:

  • Rape or sexual battery
  • Carnal knowledge of a juvenile
  • Indecent behavior with juveniles
  • Pornography involving juveniles
  • Molestation of a juvenile
  • Trafficking of children for sexual purposes
  • Female genital mutilation

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

The term 'abuse' includes any act that seriously endangers the mental or emotional health of the child or inflicts mental injury.

Abandonment

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

A 'crime against the child' includes criminal abandonment of a child.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 609

A report is required when any mandatory reporter has cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

The term 'caretaker' (caregiver) means 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 daycare center, operator or employee of a registered family daycare home, or other person providing a residence for the child.

Exceptions

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 603

The inability of a parent or caregiver to provide for a child due to inadequate financial resources shall not, for that reason alone, be considered neglect.

Whenever, in lieu of medical care, a child is being provided treatment in accordance with the tenets of a well-recognized religious method of healing that has a reasonable, proven record of success, the child shall not, for that reason alone, be considered to be neglected or maltreated. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the court from ordering medical services for the child when there is substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare.