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Court orders to protect children

To protect a child a court may make any of these orders, depending on circumstances and the concerns about the child.

  • Emergency protection order (EPO) – used if the court thinks it dangerous for your child to live at home or thinks someone else should leave your home. An EPO lasts eight days usually and a maximum of 15 days. Your child may have to leave home for a short time but family and friends may still visit them if your child wants this.
  • Care order – used if the court doesn't think it safe for your child to stay at home. The order gives us the same responsibility as a parent and so we can decide where the child will live.
  • Supervision order – your child stays at home and will have (along with you) regular contact with a social worker. The order may insist that you/your child do certain things – for example, attend medical appointments.
  • Section 8 orders. There are four types of these:
    • contact order – this outlines the contact with the child that is allowed or prohibited
    • prohibited steps order – can remove a parent's ability to take (specified) actions or decisions about their child – for example, to take them out of the country
    • residence order – this sets the arrangements regarding the person a child lives with
    • specific issue order – is used to specify a particular part of how a child is being brought up – for example, the school they attend.
  • Police protection – can be used where a child is in imminent danger and can last up to 72 hours. Parents and a social worker must be told where the child is.
  • Criminal cases – if your child has been seriously abused then those responsible may be charged.
  • Child assessment order – use as part of a child protection investigation, where the court thinks there is medical evidence that your child may have been hurt or abused (on purpose or in ways that would not normally happen to them). The child doesn't have to leave home but if they do it is usually only for a few days and they can still see family and friends if they want to.

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