If a child or young person below 18 years of age is in need of care and protection, the Director-General of Social Welfare (Director-General) or a child protection officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) may apply for a care and protection order (CPO) by filing a complaint in the Youth Courts.
Before submitting an application to the Youth Courts for a CPO, the Director-General or child protection officer may do one of the following:
After a complaint has been filed in the Youth Courts on behalf of your child, the judge will decide if there are sufficient grounds (reasons) in the complaint to warrant an investigation. If the judge is of the view that there are sufficient grounds to do so, the judge may call for a social report of your child to get relevant information on the child and the family to deal with the case.
The child protection officer will interview you, your child and any other relevant persons before submitting the social report to the court. While the report is being prepared, the judge may also order your child to be placed in the care of a fit person, a place of safety or a place of temporary care and protection.
The judge will consider the contents of the social report and discuss the case with the court's panel advisers before deciding on a suitable CPO. These panel advisors are individuals in the community who are:
Once satisfied that the requirements for a CPO are met, the judge may make the CPO. Find out the CPOs the court may make.
If you wish to contest the application for a CPO or an enhanced care and protection order (ECPO) for your child, you may inform the judge at the hearing. The judge will then give directions for parties to file supporting documents before a hearing date is scheduled.
At the hearing, the judge will hear from you or your lawyers (if any) and from the Director-General or a child protection officer from MSF or their lawyers (if any) before deciding on the appropriate orders.