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Child protection orders
The family courts have the power to make orders to protect children from harm caused by abuse or neglect. In most cases, this will be a care order, placing the child in the care of the local authority. In other cases, it may be a residence order or special guardianship order, which places the child in the care of a member of the extended family such as a grandparent, uncle or aunt.
Sometimes, it is necessary for the court to make temporary arrangements to protect a child from immediate risk while longer-term plans are made for their future care.
In an emergency, a magistrates' court can make an "Emergency Protection Order", which authorises the separation of the child and the parents for up to eight days. This may result in the child being removed from the parent, or in the parent being prevented from removing the child from a safe place such as a hospital or foster home. Alternatively, a police officer can remove a child, who is thought to be at risk, to a place of safety for up to 72 hours.
The law says that anyone can apply for an Emergency Protection Order, but we would not recommend that you do this! If you are worried that a child is at risk of abuse or neglect, please contact us or the Police on the numbers shown below.
In an emergency, always ring 999
The Department for Education publishes a guide "What to do if you're worried a child is being abused", which can be downloaded from their website.
Child protection - frequently asked questions