Informer: Hotline takes reports of child abuse, neglect

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Who do I contact to report abuse or neglect of children?

Call the state Department of Children and Family Services’ 24-hour child abuse hotline at 855-452-5437.

“Each report received by the hotline

goes through a multi-level quality assurance process to determine

whether it meets the

criteria for a child protection investigation and how quickly the

investigation needs to be initiated,” DCFS Secretary Suzy

Sonnier said in a news release issued Friday.

“This ensures that all reports of abuse across the state are evaluated by the same standards and urgency.”

Under Children’s Code Article 1003, “abuse” refers to any of the following:

“The infliction or attempted

infliction, or, as a result of inadequate supervision, the allowance or

toleration of the infliction

or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury upon the

child by a parent or any 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 the caretaker of the child’s sexual involvement with any other

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 law defines “neglect” as “the

refusal or failure of a parent or caretaker to supply the child with

necessary food, clothing,

shelter, care, treatment, or counseling for any 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.”

The provision makes allowances for parents who choose to forgo medical care for their children in favor of “a well-recognized

religious method of healing which has a reasonable, proven record of success.”

But it notes that “nothing herein shall

prohibit the court from ordering medical services for the child when

there is substantial

risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare.”

According to the DCFS news release,

95,457 of the 200,000 or so calls the hotline has gotten between its

launch nearly two

years ago and May “met the criteria for child abuse intake, and

were further evaluated as reports of child abuse or neglect.”

Online: www.dcfs.louisiana.gov.

Charter trustees get no compensation

Do Gene Thibodeaux and the other members of the charter school board of trustees receive salaries?

No.

As per the bylaws of both charter

schools’ governing foundations, board members receive no compensation,

but they do get reimbursed

for “reasonable expenses” related to travel, Thibodeaux said.

Online: www.lakecharlescharter.org; http://swlouisianacharter.org.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com