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Child Protection orders

Note: If you’re concerned about a child’s safety, contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

What is a child protection order?

Child protection orders are different to family violence orders, as they are made by the Childrens Court when a child needs protection. Read more about domestic violence orders.

There are several types of child protection orders:

  • directive order — an order that directs you to do or not do something related to your child's care
  • supervision order — an order that the department supervise your care of the child
  • custody order — an order that a relative or the department have day-to-day care of your child
  • short-term guardianship order — to the chief executive
  • long-term guardianship order — to a suitable member of the child's family, a suitable person or the chief executive

All child protection orders have time limits on them. The aim is to return your child to your family if the need for protection can be resolved.

Which order is appropriate

A directive or supervision order is appropriate where the child can safely remain in the home. Under these orders, you retain all custody and guardianship decision-making responsibilities for your child.

Short-term orders are appropriate when the case plan goal is to reunify a child with the family.

Long-term orders are appropriate when the child cannot be safely reunified with the family within a timeframe appropriate to the child's age and circumstances, and that long-term out-of-home care would best protect and care for the child.

Why a court may grant a child protection order

A magistrate can grant a child protection order if they’re sure that the child needs protection and the order won’t be more intrusive than needed to keep them safe.

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services will apply to the Childrens Court for a child protection order if:

  • parents disagree with the department about their child needing protection
  • parents are not willing to have contact with the department to ensure your child’s safety
  • parents can’t protect and care for the child at home.

What you need to do

If the court receives an application for a child protection order for your child, you should receive at least two days’ notice.

The court will not hear the application until you’ve had reasonable notice to:

  • travel and attend court
  • talk to a lawyer.

However, the Childrens Court can make a decision about an application for a child protection order even if you don’t attend court.

What the court considers

When deciding whether to grant a child protection order, the court considers the information presented by you, your family, and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

The court can grant a child protection order only if it believes that the child needs protection from harm and does not have a parent who is willing and able to provide protection. The court must be sure the order is necessary to ensure the child’s safety.

Appealing a child protection order

You and/or your child may appeal against a child protection order within 28 days. If you wish to appeal, get legal advice quickly.

Changing a child protection order

If circumstances change, either you or Child Safety Services, within the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, can apply to change the order by:

  • extending it for a further period of time
  • changing it to a different type of order
  • having the order revoked.

Read more in-depth information about child protection orders.

Read more about child custody and parenting arrangements.

Further information

Last updated
12 December 2016

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