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Before an application is filed

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 applicationin 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:

  • Remove your child from your home to a place of temporary care and protection.
  • Send your child for medical assessment and any necessary treatment with a registered medical practitioner or approved welfare officer.

After an application is filed

After an application has been filed, a date will be fixed for the court to hear the application. At this first mention, the judge will decide if there are sufficient grounds (reasons) in the application to warrant an investigation. During the hearing, the judge will:

  • Call for a social report to get relevant information on the child and the family to deal with the case.
    • The parent, child and any other relevant persons will be interviwed by a Child Protective Services (CPS) officer.
  • Pass interim orders for your child to be placed in the care of a fit person, a place of safety or a place of temporary care and protection.
  • Require the parents and child to undergo counselling programmes.

Social Report Hearing

The court will hear the incidents that led to the application being filed. Recommendations pertaining to the welfare of the child will be made by the CPS officer. These recommendations will be informed to the parents.

If the parents agree with the recommendations, the judge will make the CPO and final orders will be passed. Find out the CPOs the court may make.

If the parents do not agree with the recommendations, a family conference will be convened. This will be led by a Court Family Specialist (CFS) to discuss on the best way forward for the child.

If you contest the application

If no agreement is reached during the family confrence and you wish to contest the application for a CPO or an enhanced care and protection order (ECPO) for your child, the case will then proceed for a contested hearing.

The judge will then give directions for parties to file affidavits before a hearing date is scheduled. Interim orders (if granted) will also be extended.

At the contested hearing

During the hearing, the court will consider both the sworn affidavits and hear from both parents, Director-General or a child protection officer from MSF or their lawyers (if any) before deciding on the final orders. Find out the CPOs the court may make.


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