Assessment orders

Assessment orders include:

Court assessment order

A court assessment order (CAO) is an order made by the Childrens Court under the Child Protection Act 1999.

The purpose of a court assessment order is to:

  • allow child safety officers or police officers to assess whether a child or young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm
  • make sure the child or young person is safe while the investigation and assessment occurs.

A court assessment order can last for up to four weeks from the day the application is first brought before the court, even if the matter has been adjourned.

  • The order will state the date when it ends.
  • The Childrens Court can extend the order once for a further period of up to four weeks, if it is in the child or young person's best interests.

If a court assessment order application is made to the Childrens Court, both parents will be served with the application and will have an opportunity to attend court and be heard by the magistrate.

You can have a lawyer represent you in court. Having lawyer helps to have your views heard.

Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal advice via telephone on 1300 65 11 88.

If you would like to contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) instead, then they can be contacted on 1800 012 255 as a free call at any time.

You could also contact the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service on 1800 88 77 00 also as a free call.

You can also get free legal advice and information through your local community legal centre. You can locate your local centre via their website.

You can get information for parents about the child protection system at Queensland Family & Child Commission.

Temporary assessment order

A temporary assessment order (TAO) is a three day order made by a magistrate under the Child Protection Act 1999.

An officer from the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs or the Queensland Police Service can apply to the magistrate for the order.

The purpose of a temporary assessment order is to:

  • allow child safety officers or police officers to assess whether the child or young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm
  • make sure the child or young person is safe while an investigation and assessment occurs.

A temporary assessment order can allow any of the following actions (despite a parent’s objection):

  • contact with a child or young person by child safety officers or police officers
  • medical examination or treatment of the child or young person
  • temporary custody of the child or young person during the investigation and assessment period. This generally means that the child or young person will not stay in their home
  • child safety officers or police officers to enter and search a place to find a child or young person.

A temporary assessment order can also direct a parent not to have contact with their child or young person, or to only have supervised contact.

If we have applied for a temporary assessment order for your children, we strongly recommend you get legal advice.

Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal advice via telephone on 1300 65 11 88.

If you would like to contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) instead, then they can be contacted on 1800 012 255 as a free call at any time.

You could also contact the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service on 1800 88 77 00 also as a free call.

You can also get free legal advice and information through your local community legal centre. You can locate your local centre via their website.

You can get information for parents about the child protection system at Queensland Family & Child Commission.

Temporary custody order

All children belong in families who love them and keep them safe. We want to work with you so your child can live a happy, healthy life as part of your family. If after talking to you and collecting information about your family situation, we’ve assessed that your child is not safe at home, we’ll apply for a temporary custody order.

What is a temporary custody order?

A temporary custody order is made by a magistrate. It allows us to take your child into our custody while we assess what needs to happen next. The order lasts for 3 business days (from midnight on the day the order is made). It can be extended only once, for 1 extra business day. During this time, we’ll assess how to keep your child safe from harm. We may talk to the Director of Child Protection Litigation about applying for a child protection order. They’re an independent agency within the Department of Justice and AttorneyGeneral that handles child protection legal matters. You’ll be involved in discussions about your child’s safety and care.

What do temporary custody orders allow?

The magistrate decides what the temporary custody order allows us to do. Temporary custody orders allow us, or a police officer, to:

  • enter your home to look for your child
  • talk to your child about the family situation
  • organise a medical check or treatment, if we think your child is hurt
  • direct how much contact you have with your child
  • take your child into our custody

What happens to your child?

The temporary custody order allows us to place your child with a foster carer, for 3 business days. You’ll still be the guardian of your child. We’ll talk to your child about what’s happening so they understand why they’re living with someone else.

Do you need to go to court?

Temporary custody orders:

  • are made in urgent circumstances
  • are granted by a magistrate
  • are usually made without a court hearing.

Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal advice via telephone on 1300 65 11 88.

If you would like to contact the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) instead, then they can be contacted on 1800 012 255 as a free call at any time.

You could also contact the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service on 1800 88 77 00 also as a free call.

You can also get free legal advice and information through your local community legal centre. You can locate your local centre via their website.

You can get information for parents about the child protection system at Queensland Family & Child Commission.

You’ll receive a copy of the temporary custody order, and we’ll explain what it means for you and your child. Even though you don’t go to court, you should talk to a lawyer to understand what’s happening and what your rights are. Having a lawyer helps to have your views heard.

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Assessment order - Information for parents