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An emergency protection order (EPO) is an order giving a local authority parental responsibility for short term period in order to safeguard the welfare of the child.
An EPO will be applied for when it is necessary to ensure the short term safety of a child. Any person can make an application including a local authority or other authorised body.
To make an EPO the court needs to be satisfied that there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if:
- he/she is not placed into accommodation provided by the local authority or
- he/she does not remain in the place where he/she is currently being accommodated e.g. in hospital.
If it is believed the child will be safe in the interim period then notice should be given to the parents of an EPO application.
However, if it is believed that the child is at immediate risk of harm then an EPO can be applied for without notice to the parents.
As an EPO is only a short term order the court can only grant it for up to a maximum of 8 days. It can, however, be extended for a further 7 days thereafter.