Child assessment orders

Child assessment orders

This Order only applies to children where there is reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm and an assessment of the child's health or development would enable the applicant to determine whether or not the child is suffering or is likely to suffer from significant harm and the assessment will not happen without an order.

A Court can treat an application for a child assessment order as if it were an application for an emergency protection order. Applicants therefore need to have plans ready for either eventuality.

A child assessment order lasts for up to 7 days but need not start on the date of the Court application, indeed it can start at any time within 6 months of the application.

A child of suitable age and understanding may refuse to consent to any examination, assessment process or treatment contained in the order.

A child of suitable age and understanding may refuse to consent to any examination, assessment process or treatment contained in the order.

Only the local authority or NSPCC can apply for a child assessment order.

Once there has been an application for a child assessment order no further applications can be made without leave of the Court until six months have elapsed from disposal of the previous proceedings.

A recommendation to apply for a child assessment order should be taken at a multi-agency meeting and confirmed by a legal planning meeting and informed by a multi-agency assessment.

Any person making an application for a child assessment order shall take such steps as are reasonably practicable to ensure that notice of the application is given to:

  • the child's parents;
  • any person who is not a parent but has parental responsibility;
  • any other person caring for the child;
  • any person in whose favour a contact order is in force with respect to the child;
  • any person who is allowed to have contact with the child by virtue of an order under Section 34;
  • the child, before the hearing of the application.