Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect - Louisiana

Date: May 2023

Professionals Required to Report
Citation: Children's Code Art. 603(17)

Mandatory reporters include any of the following individuals:

  • Health practitioners, including physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, dentists, residents, interns, hospital staff, outpatient abortion facility staff members, podiatrists, chiropractors, nurses, nursing aides, dental hygienists, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, optometrists, medical examiners, or coroners
  • Mental health/social service practitioners, including psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage or family counselors, social workers, members of the clergy, or aides
  • Members of the clergy, including priests, rabbis, duly ordained clerical deacons or ministers, Christian Science practitioners, or other similarly situated functionaries of a religious organization
  • Teaching or child care providers, including public or private teachers, teacher's aides, instructional aides, school principals, school staff members, bus drivers, coaches, professors, technical or vocational instructors, technical or vocational school staff members, college or university administrators, college or university staff members, social workers, probation officers, foster home parents, group home or other child care institutional staff members, personnel of residential home facilities, daycare providers, or any individual who provides such services to a child in a voluntary or professional capacity
  • Police officers or law enforcement officials
  • Commercial film and photographic print processors
  • Mediators
  • Parenting coordinators
  • Court-appointed special advocates
  • Organizational or youth activity providers, including administrators, employees, or volunteers of any day camp, summer camp, youth center, or youth recreation programs or any other organization that provides organized activities for children
  • School coaches, including, but not limited to, public technical or vocational school, community college, college, or university coaches and coaches of intramural or interscholastic athletics

Training Requirements for Mandatory Reporters

Citation: Children's Code Art. 609(3)

To familiarize mandatory reporters with their legal mandate for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, such mandatory reporters shall be offered training on the statutory requirements and responsibility of reporting child abuse and neglect. This training shall be made available by the child welfare division of the Department of Children and Family Services or any other mechanism as approved by the department as long as it includes information on the reporting procedure and the consequences of failing to report.

Each mandatory reporter may obtain mandatory reporting training as they believe to be necessary. The appropriate State regulatory department, board, commission, or agency for each category of mandatory reporter may provide continuing education credit for the completion of the training.

Any entity, including, but not limited to, hospitals, educational and religious institutions, and nonprofits, may provide its employees, volunteers, or educational attendees with equivalent training.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services offers further guidance on its webpage Mandated Reporters. A listing of the individuals who are required to report and instructions on how to report are included. There is also a link to the online Mandated Reporter Training.

Reporting by Other Persons
Citation: Children's Code Art. 609

Any other person who has cause to believe that a child's health is endangered because of abuse or neglect may report. 

Institutional Responsibility to Report

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed. 

Standards for Making a Report
Citation: Children's Code Art. 609; 610

A report is required when any of the following apply:

  • A reporter has cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered because of abuse or neglect. 
  • A commercial film or photographic print processor has knowledge of or observes any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide depicting a child, whom they know or should know is under age 17, that constitutes child pornography. 
  • A physician has cause to believe that a newborn was exposed in utero to an unlawfully used controlled dangerous substance, as determined by a toxicology test upon the newborn that may be administered without the consent of the newborn's parents or guardian. Positive test results shall not be admissible in a criminal prosecution.
  • A physician observes symptoms of withdrawal in a newborn or other observable and harmful effects in their physical appearance or functioning that the physician has cause to believe are due to the chronic or severe use of alcohol by the mother during pregnancy.

Privileged Communications
Citation: Children's Code Art. 603(17); 609

A clergy member is not required to report a confidential communication 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.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, when representing a child in a case arising out of this code, a mental health or social service practitioner shall not be considered a mandatory reporter under the following limited circumstances:

  • When the practitioner is engaged by an attorney to assist in the rendition of professional legal services to that child
  • When the information that would serve as the basis for reporting arises in furtherance of facilitating the rendition of those professional legal services to that child
  • When the information that would serve as the basis for reporting is documented by the mental health/social service practitioner

The documentation shall be retained by the mental health/social service practitioner until 1 year after the child has reached the age of majority.

 Notwithstanding any claim of privileged communication, any mandatory reporter who has cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect, or that abuse or neglect was a contributing factor in a child's death, shall report. 

Inclusion of the Reporter's Name in the Report
Citation: Children's Code Art. 610

The report must include the name and address of the reporter. 

Disclosure of the Reporter's Identity
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:56(F)(8)(b)

The Department of Children and Family Services shall not disclose identifying information concerning an individual who initiated a report or complaint of alleged child abuse or neglect, except that the department shall disclose such information pursuant to a court order after the court has reviewed, in camera, the department's case record and finds reason to believe that the reporter knowingly made a false report.