If the police have removed your child because they are worried about your child's immediate safety this is called child police protection

The police may have removed your child to a safe place if they were worried about your child’s immediate safety, for example if your child has been left alone.

Social workers may have asked the police to use these powers if they were worried that your child was in immediate danger and needed to be made safe straightaway, but they didn’t have time to apply to court for an order.

If your child has been removed by the police:

  • Your child can stay in police protection for at most 72 hours (three days). The police should ask Children’s Services to look after your child during that time.
  • Children’s Services should first look to see if anyone in your child’s family network can look after your child before looking at unrelated foster carers. If they place them with a relative that person needs to be assessed as a foster carer by Children’s Services and your child is likely to become looked after.
  • If there isn’t anyone in your family network who can care for your child, or your child’s social worker is not able to approve the relative or friend you have suggested, then your child will stay with an unrelated approved foster carer, or in a residential setting such as a children’s home.
  • If social workers continue to be worried about your child’s safety for longer than this they would need to ask the court to make a Care Order or ask you or someone else with parental responsibility to agree to your child being accommodated.

To find out more see: advice sheet 9: Child protection procedures.