In some cases urgent action may be required to protect a child from actual or likely significant harm.
At times, a child's parents or carer's may agree to Local Authority Social Work services providing the child with accommodation and looking after them until concerns about the child's safety, or allegations of abuse or neglect can be clarified.
Social Work services might also consider whether others in the child's extended family or social network could look after the child while agencies carry out further inquiries or assessment. There will, however be cases where the risk of significant harm, or the possibility of the parents or carers removing the child without notice, makes it necessary for agencies to take legal action for the child's protection.
Any person may apply to a Sheriff for a Child Protection Order or the Local Authority may apply for a Child Assessment Order or Exclusion Order.
If an application is successful, the Sheriff can order that a child be removed from their home to a safe place, or prevent the removal of a child, for example, from a hospital or from their grand-parents home.
The Sheriff can attach conditions to the Order to ensure the protection of a child, for example, a condition that they have no contact with a particular "named person" or that a child must have a medical examination. A Child Protection Order lasts up to eight days.
If a Child Protection Order has been granted, you have the right to apply to the Sheriff for the Order to be recalled or varied. This can be done prior to the initial Children's Hearing on the second working day.
Section 53 of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 allows the Principal Reporter to the Children's Hearing can also recall a Child Protection Order during this time, if it is believed the Order is no longer required.
If no application for recall is made, the Order will proceed to a full Children's Hearing on the eighth day, at which point the Children's Hearing can make any necessary arrangements to protect your child through other legal measures.
If a Child Protection Order is sought for your child, you should seek legal advice at the start of this process. Legal aid may be available.
In an emergency situation, where a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that the conditions for making a Child Protection Order are satisfied and it is not practical in the circumstances to make such an application to the Sheriff, then the officer may remove the child to a place of safety (Section 56 (1) Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011).
The power to remove the child only lasts 24 hours; thereafter the police (or another person) need to apply to the Sheriff for a Child Protection Order to secure the child's place of safety.
Lead Officer Child Protection, Child Care
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 225000 / 450000