Children’s Advocacy Network Fights Child Abuse and Sex Trafficking

The Alexandria Rotary Club heard from the Children’s Advocacy Network about their work to help abused and neglected children in Cenla.  ABC 31 News Joel Massey shows us what they’re doing and how you can help.

Kendra Gauthier executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Network said, “April is National Child Abuse Awareness month so today we talked to Rotary Club members about what child abuse looks like in our local community what signs to look for and what to do if you suspect child abuse.”

Gauthier says the most important thing you can do to help stop child abuse is report it.

“First off is report it.  Contact the DCFS hotline and make a report we have to let people know that we suspect this and that way it can be investigated.”

Gauthier highlighted just how prevalent child abuse is in Central Louisiana.

“Child abuse is a major problem all across the country, all across the state but here locally last year for example we had over 600 kids removed from their homes and placed in the foster care just in Central Louisiana.”

She said that her organization now provides a forensic interview of child abuse victims so that children only have to tell their story once.  From the interview they are able to share the information with law enforcement.  The Children’s Advocacy Network also seeks to rescue children from sex trafficking. Sometimes children fall into it through social networking.

“Kids these days with social media and everything, it’s a slippery slope for them so they will end up sliding into trafficking through sending provocative photos and then they get extorted online.”

Rotarian Robert Wright said Gauthier had an important message for the community.

“I think everything she had to say is very important for everyone in our community to know and be aware.  If you see something you need to say something and advocate for the children in our community.”

Wright said he learned a few new things about child abuse at the meeting.

“I learned some different definitions of trafficking that it’s not always strangers picking up children that they didn’t know that it could be neighbors and even within families.”

If you suspect child abuse, call the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services Hotline at 855-4LA-KIDS.  The Children’s Advocacy Network is in need of foster families and Court Appointed Special Advocates.  If you would like to volunteer call Kendra Gauthier at 318-445-5678 ext 3006.  For more information on the CAN and to sign up as a CASA volunteer visit

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