Louisiana Children’s Code

Title I. General Provisions


Art. 116   Definitions


Except where the context clearly indicates otherwise, these definitions apply for the following terms used throughout this Code: 


(1) “Act” includes a failure or omission to perform a legal duty. 


(2) “Capital offense” means an offense that may be punished by death. 


(2.1) “CASA program” means a court-appointed special advocate program established in compliance with National CASA Association standards. 


(2.2) “CASA volunteer” means a court-appointed special advocate who has been trained in accordance with National CASA Association standards and is under the supervision of a CASA program. 


(3) “Child” means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years, except as it is specially defined by a Title of this Code. 


(4) “Court” means any city, parish, district, or juvenile, or its judge, when exercising juvenile jurisdiction as provided for in this Code. It does not include a judge of a mayor’s court or a justice of the peace. 


(4.1) “Diligent effort to locate” means efforts made by a curator that, under the circumstances known to the curator, are reasonably calculated to locate an absentee. Such efforts may include a review of court records, department records, law enforcement records, vital records, military records, directory assistance, internet search sites, and licensing agencies. Publication shall not be required except as specifically provided in this Code. 


(5) “Felony” means an offense that may be punished by death or by imprisonment at hard labor. 


(5.1) “Guardianship” means the judicial placement of a child under the duty and authority of a guardian to make decisions in matters having a permanent effect on the life and development of the child as set forth in Article 719. 


(6) “Home study” means an evaluation of a home environment conducted in accordance with applicable requirements of the state in which the home is located to determine whether a proposed placement of a child would meet the individual needs of the child, including the child’s safety, permanency, health, well-being, and mental, emotional, and physical development. 


(6.1) “Indian child” means any unmarried child under eighteen years of age who is a member of an Indian tribe or who is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe. 


(6.2) “Indian tribe” means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians recognized as eligible for the services provided to Indians by the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with their status as Indians. 


(7) “Indictment” means a written accusation of crime made by a grand jury. 


(8) “Information” means a written accusation of crime made and signed by the district attorney or the city prosecutor. It must be filed in open court in a court having jurisdiction to try the offense, or in the office of the clerk thereof. 


(8.1) “Interstate home study” means a home study conducted by a state at the request of another state to facilitate an adoptive or foster placement in the state of a child in foster care under the responsibility of the state. 


(9) “Judge” means the judge of a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction. 


(9.1) “Juvenile crime victim” means a person, under the age of seventeen, against whom a felony offense against the person has been committed. 


(10) “Juvenile detention center” means the same as a secure detention facility. 


(11) “Juvenile proceeding” or “juvenile case” means a proceeding or case in which the court is exercising juvenile jurisdiction. 


(12) “Legal custody” means the right to have physical custody of the child and to determine where and with whom the child shall reside; to exercise the rights and duty to protect, train, and discipline the child; the authority to consent to major medical, psychiatric, and surgical treatment; and to provide the child with food, shelter, education, and ordinary medical care, all subject to any residual rights possessed by the child’s parents. 


(13) “Licensed institution”, “licensed facility”, or “licensed agency” means an institution or agency that has been licensed under state law, if licensure is required by law for such an institution or agency. 


(14) “Minor” means a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years. 


(15) “Misdemeanor” means an offense other than a felony, and includes the violation of an ordinance providing a penal sanction. 


(16) “Offense” includes both felony and misdemeanor. 


(17) “Parent” means any living person who is presumed to be a parent under the Civil Code or a biological or adoptive mother or father of a child. 


(18) “Parole” means the legal status created by court order whereby a child is conditionally released from a juvenile correctional institution to a less restrictive setting where continued supervision will be provided by a probation officer and standards of conduct will be imposed by the court. 


(19) “Peace officer” means any sheriff, police officer, or other person deputized by proper authority to serve as a peace officer. 


(20) “Physician” means a person permitted to practice and in active practice as a physician under the laws of Louisiana or a person in a postgraduate medical training program of an accredited medical school in Louisiana or a medical officer similarly qualified by the government of the United States while in this state in the performance of official duties. 


(21) “Probation” means the legal status created by court order following an adjudication of delinquency or an adjudication that a family is in need of services or that the child is in need of supervision, whereby a child is permitted to remain in a community subject to supervision by a probation officer and to standards of conduct imposed by the court. 


(22) “Probation officer” is a representative of the agency providing supervision services to a court exercising juvenile jurisdiction. It also includes any person designated by the court to serve as the court’s probation officer. 


(23) “Psychiatrist” means a physician who has at least three years of formal training or primary experience in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. 


(24) “Residual parental rights” means those rights and responsibilities remaining with the parents after the legal transfer of custody of their child, including but not necessarily limited to right of visitation, consent to adoption, right to determine religious affiliation, responsibility of support, and the right of inheritance from the child. 


(24.1) “Secure detention facility” means a facility that provides a physically restricting environment for the temporary care of children in accordance with the Minimum Standards for Licensure of the Louisiana Detention Association. 


(24.2) “Secure placement” means a placement characterized by a range of moderate to high security level facilities that include construction, fixtures, and staff supervision designed to restrict the movements and activities of the residents, and to control, on a twenty-four-hour basis, the ability of the residents to enter and leave the premises, and which are intended for the treatment and rehabilitation of children who have been adjudicated delinquent. Secure placements shall include but are not limited to secure correctional centers for children and may include community-based secure detention facilities. However, no placement of a child to a community-based secure detention facility shall occur when a child has been adjudicated for the commission of a crime listed in Article 897.1 unless notice of such placement is provided to the committing judge and the district attorney. 


(25) “Shelter care facility” means a licensed, physically unrestricting public or private child caring facility, a residential facility operated for runaway, homeless, or sexually exploited children, or a safe house as defined in Article 725.1 which provides temporary care for children. 


(26) “State” includes a city or other political subdivision of the state. 


(27) “Statute” or “law” means a statute, a constitutional provision, or an ordinance of a city or other political subdivision of the state. 


(28) “Tutor” means one other than a parent who has qualified for the office and has been confirmed or appointed by a court. 


Added by Acts 1991, No. 235, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992. Amended by Acts 1992, No. 705, § 1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 732, § 2; Acts 1999, No. 275, § 1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 449, § 1, eff. July 1, 1999; Acts 1999, No. 1317, § 1; Acts 2004, No. 484, § 1; Acts 2006, No. 344, § 3, eff. June 13, 2006; Acts 2007, No. 334, § 1; Acts 2011, No. 128, § 1; Acts 2017, No. 239, § 1; Acts 2017, No. 376, § 1; Acts 2018, No. 296, § 1; Acts 2018, No. 467, § 2.