Lawmakers finalizing plan to create new public list of convicted child abusers

If your neighbor is a registered sex offender, you would know, thanks to a public registry the state requires them to enlist.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:51 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - If your neighbor is a registered sex offender, you would know thanks to a public registry Louisiana requires them to enlist. But what about those who physically abuse children?

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has its own list of folks accused of child abuse and neglect.

This new list as part of SB217 by Sen. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, would be made public specifically for those who’ve been convicted.

“It’s a safeguard that we desperately need,” said Sen. Henry. “We’ve seen the incidents that have happened in the past couple of years in Louisiana, and this is just the next step to protecting our kids.”

Sen. Henry added that although each state is required by federal law to have some kind of registry for those associated with child abuse and neglect, the one we currently have is not efficient enough.

“I think it can do no harm, right? I mean to have a list of anybody who’s ever abused a child. I think that’s a simple, safe path for parents, and guardians, to apply for jobs, whatever it might be, you’ll know who your employer is and...I think it’s important,” elaborated Sen. Henry.

So, just like you would be able to look up a registered sex offender, the same would apply to child abusers.

Only unlike DCFS’s list, this would be available for anyone to see. The proposal, so far, has gathered support from just about every corner, and Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is one of those backing it.

“I think this is a good, proactive measure in terms of safeguarding our kids and then we would all have an opportunity to see that list,” said Sen. Barrow. “I think we have to do everything humanly possible to make sure that our kids are safe, especially those kids who are under three who can’t really communicate what’s happening to them. Every measure that we take to ensure that is a good measure.”

When it comes to funding and requirements, Sen. Henry said Louisiana State Police is working closely with lawmakers to make sure this is rolled out in a way that’s efficient and productive. Lawmakers still need to finalize some of the smaller details written in this plan. They’ll be working those out between now and when the bill gets taken back up.

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