Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Louisiana

Date: September 2023

Guiding Principles

Citation: Children's Code Art. 601

The purpose of this title is to protect children whose physical or mental health, welfare, and safety is substantially at risk of harm by physical abuse, neglect, or exploitation and who may be further threatened by the conduct of others by providing for the reporting of suspected cases of abuse, exploitation, or neglect of children; by providing for the investigation of such complaints; and by providing, if necessary, for the resolution of child in need of care proceedings in the courts. The proceedings shall be conducted expeditiously to avoid delays in achieving permanency for children. This title is intended to provide the greatest possible protection as promptly as possible for such children. The health, welfare, safety, and best interests of the child shall be the paramount concern in all proceedings under this title. This title shall be administered and interpreted to avoid unnecessary interference with family privacy and trauma to the child, and yet, at the same time, authorize the protective and preventive intervention needed for the health, welfare, safety, and well-being of children.

Best Interests Factors

Citation: Children's Code Art. 675(A) 

The case plan shall be designed to achieve placement in the least restrictive, most family-like, and most appropriate setting available in close proximity to the parents' homes and consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child. The health, welfare, and safety of the child shall be the paramount concern in the development of the case plan.

Other Considerations

Citation: Children's Code Art. 675(B)

The case plan shall include an assessment of the relationships between the child and the parents, grandparents, and siblings, including a plan for ensuring that continuing contact with any suitable relative by blood, adoption, or affinity with whom the child has an established and significant relationship is preserved while the child is in foster care.