East Lothian Council

Child protection orders

What is a child protection order?

A child protection order (CPO) enables a court to order that children be removed from home if they are in danger there.

Under Section 57 (1) Children (Scotland) Act 1995, anyone can apply to a sheriff for a CPO if they believe a child is at risk of significant harm. The sheriff can grant the order if he or she is satisfied that:

  • there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child is suffering significant harm because of ill-treatment or neglect
  • the child will suffer significant harm if he or she is not removed to a place of safety
  • the child will suffer significant harm if he or she is not allowed to remain in a place of safety

Parents of a child subject to a CPO (or the child) can apply to have the order set aside or varied by the sheriff. Such an application has to be determined within three working days.

Exclusion order

Exclusion orders are designed to reduce disruption and distress to children.  Only local authorities can apply for an exclusion order from the sheriff, using broadly the same reasons as given above for a CPO. If granted, the order requires the person who is alleged to be causing the harm to leave the family home (or not to visit it if he or she lives elsewhere).

Exclusion may take place at once but, as in the case in a CPO, provision is made for early review of the order by a sheriff.

Applying for a CPO or exclusion order

If you intend to apply for an order, please seek legal advice or contact Children's Services or the police first.

For more information about child protection, please visit our Child Protection section.

If you need to contact us outwith our normal office hours, please ring 0800 731 6969 and speak to our Emergency Social Work Service.

Randall House, Macmerry Business Park, Macmerry, EH33 1RW

Telephone: 01875 824090

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.