Grandparents and other family members

If you are worried about the welfare of a grandchild or other family member, you should contact the police or the Department of Communities Child Protection (the Department). You may be able to have a say in decisions about their safety if the Department is investigating or the case is at the Children’s Court of WA.

Quick Answers Video: Child protection - Grandparents and family members
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Find out:

  • what is protection and care law?
  • what if I am concerned about my grandchildren’s safety?
  • what orders can the Children’s Court make?
  • what happens after an application for a protection order is made?
  • can I have a say at court?
  • can I have the children placed with me while the case is still at court?

What is protection and care law?

The Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA) is the law in Western Australia that the Department must follow if they believe a child is not safe living with their family or that a family needs extra support to make a child safe.

The Department can help families to look after their children or can remove children from their parents if this seems necessary.

If this happens the Department will apply to the Children’s Court of WA for a protection order.

Grandparents can get involved when the Department makes decisions about the care of the children. Sometimes the children may be placed in their care. Grandparents can apply to the Children’s Court of WA to be made a party to the case so they can talk to the magistrate about what they would like to happen in the case.

What if I am worried about my grandchildren’s safety?

If you have concerns for your grandchildren’s welfare or safety in their current living situation you can:

  • talk to the police
  • get legal advice about applying to the family court for parenting orders, or
  • report your concerns to the Department.

Can I have a say at court?

As a grandparent (or other family member ) you cannot have a direct say at court unless you make an application to the court to be made a party. In most cases you will have to file an application and an affidavit in support. The forms you need to do this are available from any Children’s Court registry or the Children’s Court of WA. A magistrate may grant your application if you can show you have a direct and significant interest in a child or young person. In your affidavit you could cover things such as the specific details of your relationship with the child and what your significant interest in the child is. For example, you may have spent regular time with the child and provided care in the past. The court will need to know about your relationship with the child and why you want to be involved in the court case.  

If I am a grandparent or other family member, can I have the children placed with me while the case is still at court?

If the parties to the case are not happy with temporary arrangements made by the Department, they can ask the court to make interim (temporary) orders. As a grandparent (or other family member or carer) if you have been made a party, you can also apply for these orders.

If you are a family member of a child who is in care and you want to be assessed as a family carer, contact the child’s  Child Protection worker as soon as possible

If the Department does not agree to place the child with you, you can apply to the court for a temporary order for the child to be placed in your care. The court will decide based on the ‘best interests of the child’.




Reviewed: 3 November 2022


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.