If the local authority is concerned about child abuse, they can apply to court for a number of Orders to protect the child. 

If a local authority has serious concerns about the safety or welfare of your child, it can apply to the court to take the child into care.

The following are examples of when a local authority may apply to take a child into care. When the local authority believe a child is being neglected. Neglect involves ongoing, serious failure to meet a child’s basic needs and can include:

  • not taking a child to see a doctor when they need to go.
  • not giving the child enough to eat or drink.
  • not keeping the child clean.

When the local authority is worried that the child has been, or is likely, to be abused either by their parents or carers or other people they know. Abuse includes: 

  • physical abuse, which is about inflicting pain or injury to a child and also includes giving a child harmful substances, such as drugs, alcohol or poison.
  • sexual abuse, when a child is pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity.
  • emotional abuse, when a parent or carer behaves in a way that is likely to seriously affect the child’s emotional development. This can include constant rejection; continual, severe criticism and witnessing domestic violence. 

Before applying for any Court Order or taking emergency action, agencies will try to work with families to ensure the child is protected. Court Orders or emergency action will only be taken where it appears that a child may be at risk of ‘significant harm’ and a Court Order or emergency action is necessary to protect the child.

Taking a Child into Care 


Traveller and Romani Advice and Information Network