7: Emergency proceedings

At any stage, a Local Authority can apply for an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) [27] to protect a child from “ongoing or imminent risk of physical, mental or emotional harm”.  It can last for a maximum of eight days. Almost all applications are made by the local authority but the police or the NSPCC or even a relative could also apply. The parents should be given one day’s notice of an EPO application. However, the local authority can argue that the child’s life is under threat or that the parent may take the child from their home without permission, and these hearings can take place without the parents even knowing they are happening.  An EPO authorises the local authority to take the child from their home, or stop you taking your child home from hospital or other “safe place”.

The order should be made by a LA only where there are compelling reasons in exceptional circumstances. 

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