Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund

LCTF LogoThe Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund (LCTF):  is a statewide organization that partners with organizations across Louisiana to prevent child abuse and neglect.  It provides resources, information and funding to each region in Louisiana in relation to 5 key areas- Education & Support for Parents, Self-help Groups and Neighborhood Support Programs, Prevention and Life Skills Training Programs for Children & Youth, Coordination & Continued Education of Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention and Public Awareness & Education of the Problem.   

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast LA is dedicated to child safety. All program participants complete child safety and abuse training prior to being matched and throughout the match. Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund focuses and funds primary and secondary prevention services, which provide support to families BEFORE A CRISIS EMERGES. The premise of primary and secondary prevention services is that EVERYTHING POSSIBLE MUST BE DONE WITH FAMILIESTO MAXIMIZE THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN. Please continue to read for more information on Child Abuse & Neglect.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the 24 hour toll-free state hotline at 1-855-4LA-KIDS (1-855-452-5437) Please continue to read for more information on Child Abuse & Neglect.

What Are the Major Types of Child Abuse and Neglect?

Within the minimum standards set by the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act (CAPTA), each State is responsible for providing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect. Most States recognize four major types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. Although any of the forms of child maltreatment may be found separately, they often occur in combination. In many States, abandonment and parental substance abuse are also defined as forms of child abuse or neglect. The examples provided below are for general informational purposes only. Not all States’ definitions will include all of the examples listed below, and individual States’ definitions may cover additional situations not mentioned here.

Physical abuse is non-accidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.

Neglect is the failure of a parent, guardian, or other caregiver to provide for a child’s basic needs. Neglect may be:

• Physical (e.g., failure to provide necessary food or shelter, or lack of appropriate supervision)

• Medical (e.g., failure to provide necessary medical or mental health treatment)

• Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs)

• Emotional (e.g., inattention to a child’s emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to use alcohol or other drugs)

These situations do not always mean a child is neglected. Sometimes cultural values, the standards of care in the community, and poverty may be contributing factors, indicating the family is in need of information or assistance. When a family fails to use information and resources, and the child’s health or safety is at risk, then child welfare intervention may be required. In addition, many States provide an exception to the definition of neglect for parents who choose not to seek medical care for their children due to religious beliefs that may prohibit medical intervention.

Sexual abuse includes activities by a parent or caregiver such as fondling a child’s genitals, penetration, incest, rape, sodomy, indecent exposure, and exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Sexual abuse is defined by CAPTA as “the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.”

Emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may include constant criticism, threats, or rejection, as well as withholding love, support, or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm or mental injury to the child. Emotional abuse is almost always present when other forms are identified.

Abandonment is now defined in many States as a form of neglect. In general, a child is considered to be abandoned when the parent’s identity or whereabouts are unknown, the child has been left alone in circumstances where the child suffers serious harm, or the parent has failed to maintain contact with the child or provide reasonable support for a specified period of time.

Substance abuse is an element of the definition of child abuse or neglect in many States. Circumstances that are considered abuse or neglect in some States include:

• Prenatal exposure of a child to harm due to the mother’s use of an illegal drug or other substance

• Manufacture of methamphetamine in the presence of a child

• Selling, distributing, or giving illegal drugs or alcohol to a child

• Use of a controlled substance by a caregiver that impairs the caregiver’s ability to adequately care for the child

Recognizing the Signs 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, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination.

If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family. Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse and neglect. Some people (typically certain types of professionals) are required by law to make a report of child maltreatment under specific circumstances—these are called mandatory reporters.

The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:

The Child:

• Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

• Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

• Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical    or psychological causes     

• Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

• Lacks adult supervision

• Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

• Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

• Shows little concern for the child

• Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home

• Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

• Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

• Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

• Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

• Rarely touch or look at each other

• Consider their relationship entirely negative

• State that they do not like each other

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