Child protection investigations by finding in Louisiana

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Definitions: Child protection investigations conducted during the calendar year, by finding.

Data Source: Agenda for Children's analysis of data provided by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, by special request.

Footnotes: The child protection investigation process begins with a report of child abuse and/or neglect. Reports are then screened to determine whether or not the allegations meet the definition of child abuse and/or neglect. Investigations are then conducted for screened-in reports of child abuse and neglect. Data reported here reflect the outcomes of these investigations according to three possible outcomes: valid, invalid, and other.

A "Valid" finding indicates that an investigation occurred and that a Child Protective Services (CPD) worker determined at least one allegation of child abuse or neglect met the legal definition of child abuse or neglect. Additionally, the alleged perpetrator must be a parent or caretaker in order for an allegation to be considered "valid." An invalid finding may result when the perpetrator was not a parent or a guardian, or in cases with no injury or harm, no extreme threat of harm, or insufficient evidence to meet validity standard. In some circumstances, a minor injury that occurs as a result of corporal punishment may result in an "invalid" finding. Therefore, it is important to note that an "invalid" finding does not necessarily mean that a child did not experience harm, but rather that there was not sufficient evidence to support that abuse or neglect by a parent or caretaker occurred, according to established legal definitions of abuse and neglect. More detailed information is available in the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services' policies.

Child welfare data are reported according to the location of the DCFS office through which the case is handled. Some parishes do not have a DCFS office that handles child welfare cases, and children in those parishes are served by offices in the nearest parish. Geographies reported here reflect instances in which one parish office serves children in multiple parishes (e.g. Jefferson Parish's offices also serve children in Plaquemines and St. Bernard). A small number of alleged victims are included in the statewide total, but are not reported in any parish's data because their cases were handled by the state office or because the record was missing parish data.

Note that all data reported here were updated in December 2022, and some historical data that were previously reported in the "missing parish data" category have now been included in the appropriate parish. Previous years' data have been updated as more investigations were finalized. Additionally, 2020-2021 data does not include any investigations considered to be ongoing, and are therefore subject to future revision and increases. 

LNE - "low number event" reflects a number or rate based on at least one but fewer than five events

Updated December 22, 2022.