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Aug 01, 2013
Mandated Reporter Training Available on DCFS Website

BATON ROUGE -As a new Louisiana state law goes into effect on August 1, 2013, requiring mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect to undergo training, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reminds the public that online training is available on its website at no cost.

"Mandated reporters are essential in identifying and eliminating child abuse and neglect," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "We wanted to insure that training was readily available giving mandated reporters will have a better understanding of their role when they suspect child abuse or neglect, as well as what to expect when reporting these suspicions."

The online training explains who is a mandated reporter and their legal obligations, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, how to identify groups of children at higher risk for abuse/neglect, and what to do if a child discloses abuse or neglect to you. The training includes instructions for reporting abuse or neglect by phone to DCFS' child abuse hotline, 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437).

The mandated reporter training can be found at www.dcfs.la.gov/MandatedReporterTraining.

During the 2013 Legislative session, State Representative Tom Willmott introduced House Bill 557 requiring that training be made available for mandatory reporters effective August 1, 2013. DCFS' online training has been available since April.

Louisiana's mandated reporters are required by Louisiana Children's Code Title VI, Article 603 to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Those who are considered mandated reporters are:

  • Health practitioners
  • Mental health/social service practitioners
  • Members of the clergy
  • Teaching or child care providers
  • Police officers and law enforcement officials
  • Commercial film and photographic print processors
  • Mediators
  • Court-appointed special advocates (CASA)
  • Organizational or youth activity providers and
  • Coaches

"When a mandated reporter has cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected, it is their legal obligation to report their suspicions immediately," said Sonnier.

Louisiana Criminal Code (Article R.S. 14:403) states that any person required to make a report of child abuse who knowingly and willingly fails to do so will be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction will be imprisoned up to six months, fined up to $500, or both. Any person who is required to report the sexual abuse of a child, or the abuse or neglect of a child which results in the serious bodily injury, neurological impairment, or death of the child, and the person knowingly and willfully fails to so report will be imprisoned up to three years, fined up to $3,000, or both.

Anyone can report child abuse or neglect by calling the statewide, toll-free hotline 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437). For more information about reporting child abuse or neglect in Louisiana and mandated reporters, visit www.dcfs.la.gov/ReportChildAbuse.

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