Louisiana Statutes Annotated § 14: 35.3 does not include a specific law making lack of supervision a criminal offense, except if a child is exposed to a sex offender or involved in a driving under the influence (DUI) incident. This should mean it would be hard to bring a prosecution in Louisiana against a parent who let her child play alone outside. However, it is unlawful for any driver or operator to leave children under the age of six years unattended and unsupervised in a motor vehicle under the motor vehicle code. La. Stat. Ann. § 32:295.3. And the definition of “unattended” is strict: the term “unattended” means a child who has been left in a motor vehicle when the driver or operator of the vehicle is more than ten feet from the vehicle and unable to continuously observe the child. The term “unsupervised” means an unattended child when a person ten years of age or older is not physically present in the motor vehicle.
“Neglect” under Louisiana law means the lack of necessary “care” which includes lack of supervision under Children’s Code, Article 606(b), though supervision is not specifically listed as a form necessary care in the neglect statute itself. The term supervision–or lack thereof–is used in another section of the law that states that the inability of a parent or caretaker to provide for a child’s basic support, supervision, treatment, or services due to inadequate financial resources shall not, for that reason alone, be considered neglect. Children’s Code Article 502. “Neglect” otherwise means the unreasonable 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. At the same time, the Children’s Code Article 606(B) includes lack of supervision, but states that the inability of a parent or caretaker to provide for a child’s basic support, supervision, treatment, or services due to inadequate financial resources shall not, for that reason alone, be considered neglect. Children’s Code Article 502. These potentially slightly different versions of the law (one of which says “care” and the other of which says “supervision”) broadly seem to give discretion to determine a child is neglected by being left alone if there is a “substantial threat” or impairment that the child experiences.
This webpage is not a legal document, and Let Grow does not take responsibility for the content. Be mindful that some localities have rules and guidelines even when the state does not. When in doubt, consult your local authorities to confirm the laws where you live. What’s more, laws change, as do judicial interpretations of them, and this webpage may not be updated immediately.
Right now, most states’ neglect laws are incredibly open-ended. They say things like, “Parent must provide proper supervision.” We agree! But people have different ideas of what that entails. Select a state below to learn more about their laws, policies and how Let Grow is helping.
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