Protection orders in the Children's Court
What is a protection order?
A protection order is a court order the Department of Communities (sometimes called 'Child Protection') can apply at the Children's Court for if it thinks a child or young person under 18 is in need of protection and care.
If a magistrate decides 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.
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.
Can a child be removed from my care if they are on a protection order (supervision)?
Yes, if the Department believes on reasonable grounds there is an immediate and substantial risk to your child’s wellbeing. The Department then has to 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.
Child Protection works with families to sort things out to make it safe enough for your child to go home during the order with both parents and, if they are not together, one of the parents.
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 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 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.
A condition that the special guardian must follow about contact between your child and another person (not just a parent) can be included on the order if that is best for your child.
The Department stops working with your family and the special guardian about your child if this order is made.
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 a parent 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 a protection order. If the magistrate is satisfied it is in the best interests of the child, the magistrate can:
- leave the order as it is,
- cancel the order, or
- cancel the order and replace it with another protection order.
Reviewed: 31 August 2022