Far too often the law is used as a way to make the playing field uneven for parties who are either financially disadvantaged or who have limited knowledge of family court process so when we get the chance to even out that playing field, we do.
The latest item we have been asked to write about is the Emergency Protection Order (EPO), and whether parents can apply for one.
The very short answer is, yes.
The law is very clear. Under S.44 of The Children Act 1989, ANY PERSON who believes that a child is at risk can apply for an EPO.
An Emergency Protection Order is usually applied for when there are reasonable grounds to believe that there may be an immediate risk of significant harm to a child.
If you are a parent who believes their child is at risk of imminent harm whilst in the care of a local authority, carer or parent, you can apply for an EPO.
Whilst it is incredibly difficult to find publicly available case law to highlight this practice, Researching Reform knows of at least one parent who has successfully used an EPO to remove their child from imminent harm and secured residency after doing so.
We also found this very helpful slide show which explains The Children Act 1989 very nicely, and offers some key points which are incredibly useful which includes information about Emergency Protection Orders. The slide was prepared by Nathan Loynes, programme manager for Child and Family Studies at the University Of Leeds.
Nathan has produced a series of slide shows (124 of them) which have been prepared for students at the university, but they also work as an excellent resource for families going through child protection proceedings. The slide shows touch upon a range of topics, and highlight how the system works. Presentations which caught our eye include:
As for EPOs, The Children Act gives parents the power to protect their children through them, as long as the danger is imminent. In fact, the Act makes provision for any person to apply, which includes parents and family members, first, with local authorities and ‘authorised persons’ listed after.
So, don’t be shy. The law is there to help you, don’t be afraid to use it.
A very big thank you to Jane Doe.