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Care proceedings & child protection

Emergency child protection orders

If anyone raises concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, including an unborn baby, the local authority has a duty to carry out a child protection investigation.   If the child is in immediate danger, then they can go to court to secure protection for the child via an Emergency Protection Order to allow the authority to immediately remove a child to a place of safety. Other similar urgent child protection measures include:

  • Police Protection Powers; or
  • an urgent interim care order.

The police also have the power to remove a child to a place of safety for up to 72 hours without obtaining a court order.

Once an emergency protection order has been granted by the court, the local authority will have powers which include:

  • shared parental responsibility;
  • a legal right to see the child, even if you do not cooperate;
  • the ability to take the child into their care; and
  • the right to prevent the child from returning to the care of the parent(s).

An emergency protection order is intended to be a short emergency measure and as such lasts only for up to 8 days. It is possible in some circumstances for it to be extended but it is more usual for an application to be made for an interim care order shortly before the emergency protection order expires.

Having your child taken away, possibly with little or no warning, can be extremely distressing and it is advisable to seek advice from our specialist solicitors as soon as possible.

Who we can help

We support parents, carers, grandparents, and other relatives involved in care proceedings.

We also act separately for children who are old enough to instruct a solicitor themselves. Generally, this applies to teenagers only, but sometimes children as young as 10 can be found to be of sufficient understanding.

How we can help

Our experienced solicitors will explain your rights guide you through the process and support you at any child protection meetings, exploring all the options available.

Funding for legal advice or representation

Legal Aid funding is available for parents and those with parental responsibility if their local authority has sought an emergency protection order.

Contact our family law team

Contact us right away if you are affected by any of these issues, for compassionate, specialist advice.




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