Child Abuse Awareness Month

by | Apr 17, 2024 | News

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. It is a time for us to remember the victims of Child Abuse and Neglect (CA/N)  and take a firm stance against it. In 2023, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services received 51,455 reports of CA/N. It was reported that 26,186 of those reports were investigated. The report indicated that 5,875 of those reports were from the Shreveport Region. Of that number 2,996 were investigated. In Caddo Parish, there were 2,650 reports and 1,235 of those reports were investigated. Caddo reported that 285 of those investigations were validated as cases of child abuse or neglect. In 2023, Caddo served a total of 408 children in foster care and 271 families received services from Family Services.

The Louisiana Children’s Code defines abuse as any act that seriously endangers the physical, mental, or emotional health, welfare, and safety of a child. The code defines neglect as the refusal or unreasonable 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, welfare, and safety is substantially threatened or impaired. Neglect includes prenatal neglect.

Community Foundation of North Louisiana (CFNLA) is working to address and decrease the incidents of child abuse/neglect in Northwest Louisiana. We are breaking down silos by collaborating with our partners to implement strategies that increase family connectedness to the community. Our collective efforts are providing families with the tools and resources to decrease the risk factors associated with CA/N. Our birth to 3-year-old Early Childhood Education scholarship initiative provides recipients with an opportunity to become kindergarten ready while making connections with caring adults. Research has shown that incidences of CA/N are reduced for children attending childcare centers. Primary caregivers with children enrolled in ECE programs have access to resources that help to strengthen their capacity to protect. CFNLA’s scholarship initiative provides eligible parents an opportunity to strength their family’s financial security, access quality childcare for their child, and enhance parent-child interaction. 

Child abuse, neglect, and exposure to other stressors and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are for the most part preventable. Parents have the most power to prevent ACEs. The Community Foundation’s Step Forward Initiative is hosting Bouncing Back, a series of Parent Adverse Childhood Experience (ACES) Talks. The Talks are safe settings where parents and caregivers can share their daily challenges, learn ways to practice self-care and explore how best to support the developmental and social emotional needs of their children. The Bouncing Back series is presented in various community settings by a cohort of Louisiana ACEs Educators. Parents participating in the Bouncing Back series will gain access to supportive resilience building tools to use as antidotes to toxic stress. We hope our collective efforts will result in improved social, emotional, and academic outcomes for their children and youth, ultimately creating thriving citizens.

Our Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) is instrumental in our efforts to reduce CA/N. This regionally lead teen group advocates for policies that support the overall wellness of students on school campuses and in their communities. Their priorities are to ensure students’ educational and physical and mental health needs are met. TAC carries out its work through civic engagement, student polls and public awareness campaigns. TACs latest work has focused on youth mental wellness and the impact of ACEs. The committee envisions a community where all students have access to mental health services and resilience building tools. TAC is committed to being a voice for their peers, especially those who may not have a seat at the table.

If you would like to learn more about our efforts to build a resilient self-healing community contact Carla Burgos at [email protected] or visit our website at