Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New Guide: Emergency Protection Orders

With the high profile failings of Social Services in the Baby P case, we have introduced a guide on how members of the public can apply for an Emergency Protection Order for children at risk. This is not something that should be done lightly. The circumstances MUST BE that you are aware that children are at risk of, or suffering significant harm. With impending cutbacks to Children’s Services budgets, we have decided to make this factsheet and guide freely available. Click on the title below to view:

Emergency Protection Orders

Any adult can apply to the court for an Emergency Protection Order, but it is rare for a member of the public to do so (not least because few people know they can). We would envisage that the most likely people to use this factsheet are members of the extended family such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, or a non-resident parent who becomes aware that the children are suffering harm. When applying for an Emergency Protection Order, you are applying for the children to be placed in your temporary care for a period of 8 days (during which time, Social Services have an obligation to carry out an investigation) and you can apply to the court for further orders (such as residence).

The factsheet provides guidance on how to make the application to the court, which court forms to use, the cost of an application, what might happen if social services or the police become involved, when such an application may or may not be granted, what may happen during the 8 day period in which the order lasts, and gives suggestions for when meeting the police or social services

If you believe a child is at immediate risk of physical harm, we would always recommend you call the police immediately. This factsheet is primarily intended for when you have notified the agencies, but do not believe they are taking matters seriously and want the matter to be heard by a judge, and when the situation demands urgent judicial attention to ensure the children's safety and wellbeing.