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Gun Pulled on DSS Employees Reiterates Daily Danger In Protecting Children

Morehouse Employees, Child Uninjured in Incident

Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services Secretary Kristy Nichols said today that an incident in Morehouse Parish late this afternoon where a gun was pulled on two child protection investigators reiterates the danger they must face on a daily basis in ensuring the safety of children across our state.

"Our workers put themselves in harms way on a daily basis to protect children across our state," Nichols said. "These two brave workers are to be commended for ensuring the safety of this child even though their own lives were in danger."

At approximately 2:30 p.m. today, two workers from the Morehouse Office of Community Services were responding to a case of abuse and neglect at a home in Bastrop. When the workers entered the home to remove a 4-month-old child as ordered by the courts, the mother left the room and returned with a gun. The DSS workers ran from the home carrying the child to safety. The child was uninjured in the incident. Both workers are receiving medical attention for minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises, while fleeing to safety. The child has been taken into the state's custody and is currently with foster parents.

Even though charges have not officially been filed against the mother as of yet, she could face increased penalties passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2005 for battery and assault on a child welfare or adult protection service workers. The revised law brought the penalties in line with those for assault and battery of a police officer. House Bill 422 by Representative Hunter Greene added penalties for assault to include a fine of not more than $500 or imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than 90 days, or both.

Penalties were increased for battery of child welfare workers to a fine up to $500 and imprisoned not less than 15 days nor more than six months, or both. At least 72 hours of the sentence imposed must be served without the benefit of suspension of sentence. Battery resulting in an injury requiring medical attention carries more severe penalties with fines up to $1000 and prison sentences from one to five years.