Our office is committed to the safety
and protection of children.
Cases that involve neglected and abused children are heard in Juvenile Court.
If this is an emergency, call 911.
The Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s office handles cases involving juveniles as both offenders and victims of neglect and abuse. (See our Juvenile page for more information.) District Attorney Collin Sims is committed to seeking results that are in the best interest of the children who appear before the court, both offenders and victims, but also protecting the safety of the community. The Child Abuse Division protects the interests of juvenile victims of neglect and abuse in Child In Need Of Care (CINC) cases brought in the Juvenile Court. Except in limited circumstances, juvenile matters are confidential and proceedings are closed.
Acts Against Juveniles as Victims of Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse cases are singularly difficult to prosecute. No other type of case presents such consistently complex psychological and social dynamics. No other type of case so often requires the assistant district attorney to go to trial with a child as the most crucial witness. Child abuse victims face unique challenges. In the vast majority of these cases, the offender is a trusted authority figure – family member, friend, neighbor, babysitter, clergy member, scoutmaster, or teacher – who physically or sexually abuses a child dependent on that person. Unlike victims of most other crimes, child victims of abuse are sometimes castigated as villains by family members and friends who hold them responsible for shattering the family structure.
The specifics of a child abuse investigation depend on the type of report alleged, such as physical, sexual, kidnapping, luring/enticing, internet crimes, endangering or neglect; the child’s age and ability to communicate, and how soon the report is received after an abuse incident.
What should I do if I suspect child abuse and/or neglect?
If you suspect a child is being harmed, or has been harmed, you should call the police or report your concerns to child protective services (CPS).
At what age can a child be left home alone?
Louisiana has no stated age.
Is it a crime to leave a kid alone in a parked car?
It is illegal to leave a child under the age of 6 in a vehicle if not supervised by a child over the age of 9 or if the guardian is more than 10 feet from the car and is unable to continuously observe the child.
What is considered child abuse and neglect in Louisiana? How does Louisiana define child abuse and neglect?
“Abuse” means any of the following acts which 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 other person.
- The exploitation or overwork of a child by a parent or any other person.
- The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or any other person, or the aiding or toleration by the parent or any other person of the child’s sexual involvement with another person or of the child’s involvement in pornographic displays, or any other involvement of a child in sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this state.
- The coercion of a child into having an abortion
“Neglect” means the refusal or unreasonable failure of a parent or caretaker to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, care, treatment, or counseling for injury, illness, or condition of the child, as a result of which the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health and safety is substantially threatened or impaired.
Neglect includes prenatal neglect. It is the unlawful use by a mother during pregnancy of a controlled dangerous substance that results in symptoms of withdrawal in the infant or the presence of a controlled substance in the infant’s body.
What are the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect?
The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.
If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family. Call the DCFS Child Protection hotline at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More information on the signs and symptoms of child abuse/neglect.
What/When is Child Abuse Prevention Month?
National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies and related activities. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, offers a Prevention.
What are the signs or symptoms of child abuse or neglect?
Just as there are various types of abuse and neglect, the symptoms of abuse and neglect may vary from child to child.
Can I make an anonymous report of abuse?
Yes, you may. Call 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) toll free 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.