Emergency Protection Order
Any civilised society should safeguard and promote the welfare of the children. As a basic social unit, ever family has the prime duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children. Unfortunately in the present turbulent socio economic situation families are failing in their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This is when the community steps in to promote the welfare of all children in their area.
If a child is thought to be at risk of significant harm the local authority (usually the social services and the police) will investigate to see if a child needs protection. In every case the authority will try to work to resolve any problems and keep the child with his or her family but in some extreme cases, where the child is at immediate risk of harm they may need to consider applying for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) to remove the child from home.
An EPO can only be applied for if the authority has “reasonable cause to believe the child is likely to suffer significant harm and that he/she will be in danger unless he/she is removed to a place of safety”. In some cases if the authority’s enquiries have been frustrated and access to the child has been unreasonably denied an EPO will be requested so that a full assessment of the child’s needs can be made.
An EPO gives the local authority parental responsibility, in addition to the parents or whoever had it before. An application for an emergency order can only be made through the Courts. It only lasts eight days although the court can extend it for a further period not exceeding seven days.
Parents of the child subject to an EPO are usually allowed to see their son or daughter during this time although this meeting may have to be supervised. In all cases the local authority will try to work in partnership with the parents or carers for the child and they will seek to resolve the situation to ensure the child remains safe.
An Emergency Protection Order is made when a child is in immediate danger of significant harm.
This might be because someone has called the police if they are worried that a child is being hurt, it could be because a child has told someone like a teacher that they are being hurt, or they might already be in a safe place, like a hospital.
Social Services or anyone like the police or a neighbour can go to a magistrate and apply for an Emergency Protection Order.
Emergency Protection Orders are granted for:-
• individual applicants where the child will suffer significant harm if not removed;
• local authorities, where enquiries are being made for other orders, and where these enquiries are being frustrated or unreasonably refused;
• authorised persons, where there is reasonable cause to suspect, or likelihood of significant harm.
The Emergency Protection Order lasts for eight days and any person can apply to a court for an order.
If you are worried about your child’s safety or welfare you can contact one of our family law solicitors who are willing to help you in the crisis. Our contact number is 020 8543 3302.
24 hour emergency help line: 0788 303 1585