Protection orders in the Children's Court

You might have received a protection application from the Department of Communities, Child Protection (sometimes called ‘the Department’ or ‘Child Protection’) for your child and want to know more about what it means. 

The paperwork will have a box ticked on page one for which protection order the Department wants the court to make.

A protection order is a type of court order. The Department can apply for such an order at the Children's Court if it thinks that a child or young person under 18 needs protection and care.

If a magistrate decides that the child or young person is still in need of protection when the case is finalised, they will be placed on a final protection order.

As your case goes on at court, you will need to decide if you agree that your child needs protection and if so, what, if any, order is needed to keep them safe.

You should get legal advice about your case. In some cases there may be alternatives to final Children’s Court orders, for example, Family Court orders. You can find out where to get help on the Get help with child protection webpage.

This page has information about the types of temporary and final orders that can be made by the court and about parents changing or cancelling orders. 

What are the types of final protection orders that can be made?

There are four final orders:

  • Protection order (supervision)
  • Protection order (time-limited)
  • Protection order (until 18)  
  • Protection order (special guardianship).

What can interim protection orders be made about?

While a case is at court, interim or temporary orders can be made by the magistrate about things such as contact with a parent or siblings or where your child lives.

What is a protection order (supervision)?

With a protection order (supervision) a child stays or is returned to:

  • your care
  • the care of the other parent, or
  • if you and the other parent are together, your joint care.

The Department 'supervises' or checks that your child is safe at home while the order is in place. There are rules or conditions on this order that you must follow.

Can a child be removed from my care if they are on a protection order (supervision)?

Yes, if the Department believes on reasonable grounds that there is an immediate and substantial risk to your child’s wellbeing. The Department then must bring your case back to court.

What is a protection order (time-limited)?

A protection order (time-limited) gives the Department parental responsibility over your child even if they are living with you. This means the Department is in charge of deciding big things for your child including where they live and go to school.

During the order, the Department works with your family to sort things out to make it safe enough for your child to go home with you, the other parent or both of you if you are together.

What is a protection order (until 18)?

With a protection order (until 18) the Department has parental responsibility for your child until they turn 18. This means that the Department is in charge of deciding big things for your child including where they live. 

What is a protection order (special guardianship)?

With this order, the carers become special guardians and are given parental responsibility for your child until:

  • they turn 18, or 
  • the order is cancelled, or
  • an adoption order is made.

This means that the special guardian is in charge of deciding big things for your child. But the special guardian needs the permission of the court to change your child’s name.

If it is best for your child, the court can also include a condition on the order, which the special guardian must follow about contact between your child and another person such as a parent, other family members or significant others in your child’s life. For example, that the child have contact with a parent or grandparent at the times and places as set out in the condition.

If such a protection order (special guardianship) is made, the Department stops working with your child, you and your family, and the special guardian.

Does a magistrate have to make the protection order asked for by the Department?

No, it depends on what the magistrate thinks is in the best interests of the child or young person.

Can I apply to cancel a protection order?

A parent, or any other person the court has said can have a say in the case, can apply to cancel (also called ‘revoke’) a protection order. If the magistrate is satisfied it is in the best interests of the child or young person, the magistrate can:

  • leave the order as it is,
  • cancel the order, or
  • cancel the order and replace it with another protection order.

A parent can also ask the court to change temporary orders.



Reviewed: 24 October 2023



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.