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3.3.6 Protection orders (time-limited and until 18)

Last Modified: 29-Apr-2022 Review Date: 13-Apr-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


Under the Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) the Court may make four types of protection order when it finds that a child is in need of protection:

  • Protection order (supervision)
  • Protection order (time limited)
  • Protection order (until 18)
  • Protection order (special guardianship).

A protection order (time-limited) and protection order (until 18) are the only protection orders under which a child is in the CEO's care.  Refer to In the CEO's care - Parental Responsibility Chart.

A protection order (time limited) must not exceed two years and must end before the child turns 18.  A protection order (until 18) remains in place until a child reaches 18 years of age, unless the order is revoked under s.59 of  the Act.

Note: CEO refers to the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Communities (the Department). The term "placement arrangement" is used in the Children and Community Services Act 2004 to refer to an arrangement made under s. 79(2) for the placement of a child.  This is usually referred to as a "care arrangement" in practice, with the same meaning. 

  • A child in the CEO's care under a protection order (time-limited) or (until 18) must have a Care Plan prepared and implemented as soon as practicable (s.89).  In practice this is to be within 30 working days of the final Court order. Refer to relevant entries in Chapter 3.4 – Planning.

  • For Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children or children from a culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) background the Care Plan must incorporate a Cultural Support Plan (s.89).. For more information, see Chapter 3.4 – Cultural Support Planning.

Process Maps


Information and Instructions

  • Child enters the CEO’s care under a protection order
  • Care arrangements
  • Payment to the carer
  • Development of care plans and case planning
  • Child enters the CEO’s care under a protection order

    In the proposal to Court, the written report must outline proposed arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of the child.

    For a protection order (time-limited), the proposal must outline proposed arrangements to work towards reunification (or where this is not in the child's best interests, explain why this is not practicable.

    For more information, see Chapter 3.3 – Written proposal to Court (s.143).

    A protection order (time-limited) remains in place for a period of up to two years unless the order is extended or revoked.

    The period specified in the order must be made in the best interests of the child and must not exceed two years and must end before the child reaches 18 years of age (s.55 of the Act).

    Subject to their age and level of understanding, you must provide the child with:

    • an opportunity to share their views and wishes, and
    • information about decisions to be made that are likely to have a significant impact on their life so they may participate in decision making according to their age and ability.

    When a child enters the CEO's care under a protection order, record information in the Child Information Portal in Assist. Information on the Quarterly Care Report must be reviewed and updated as necessary, or at least every three months. For more information, refer to Chapter 3.4 – Quarterly Care Reports.

    Refer to Chapter 3.3 - Intervention action for detailed procedures about  applying for a protection order (time-limited) and (until 18).

    Once a child on a protection order (time-limited) or (until 18) reaches 15 years of age, the next review of the child's Care Plan must incorporate a leaving care plan. Refer to Chapter 3.4 Leaving the CEO's care and transitioning to adulthood for more information.


    Care arrangements

    A child entering the CEO's care via a protection order may need to be cared for in a number of ways through the following arrangements:

    • foster care arrangement 
    • family or significant other care
    • residential care (the Department's or community service organisation), or an
    • intensive specialised care.

    If a child is from a CaLD background, where possible, obtain information about the child’s language and cultural needs from the child’s family and community.  For more information refer to the Principal Policy and Planning Officer, Cultural Diversity in SCPU and see Chapter 3.4 Cultural Support Planning.

    Where the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or has a CaLD background, you must apply the Aboriginal child placement principle or CaLD placement guidelines respectively when making a placement arrangement for the child. For further information see Chapter 3.4 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle and Guidelines for the Placement of Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds .

    For further information on planning a care arrangement, refer to the relevant entry in Chapter 3.4 - Care Planning

    All decisions about making a care arrangement must be made in the child’s best interests, with opportunities for the child to share their wishes and views according to their age and ability.

    Senior Child Protection Workers Placement Services (SCPWPS) should be involved in the process of identifying and securing an appropriate care arrangement. If placement with a family carer or significant other person is considered the best option for the child, this person must be assessed. In emergencies, a child in the CEO's care can be placed in an interim care arrangement. See Chapter 3.1 – Interim Placement Arrangements.

    Where possible, encourage the child's parents, family or significant persons to transport the child to the care arrangement. When the care arrangement begins, the carer should be given the Care Arrangement Referral (CAR) detailing the day to day needs of the child.

    Before making a care arrangement for an Aboriginal or Torres Strait child, you must consult with each of the following:

    • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members of the child's family

    • An Aboriginal Practice Leader or other officer who, in the opinion of the CEO has relevant knowledge of the child, their family or their community, and

    • where the family wishes, any other relevant Aboriginal stakeholder engaged with the family, such as an Elder or Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO). 


    Payment to the carer

    When a child enters a care arrangement, payment of the subsidy can only be generated by the system after you have completed recording in Assist (agencies do not generally receive subsidies but are funded through service agreements).  Refer to Chapter 3.5 -  Case management costs - basic subsidy provisions.


    Development of care plans and case planning

    Care plans and ongoing case planning must occur for all children in the CEO's care under a protection order (time limited) or (until 18).  The focus of the case plan varies depending on whether the child is under a protection order (time-limited) or a protection order (until 18).  Refer to Chapter 3.4 Provisional Care PlanningCare planning and Viewpoint

    An application for an extension of a protection order (time-limited) can be made to the Court at any time prior to the expiry of the order, but only once a review of the child's Care Plan has taken place (s.56(2)).  Decisions to make an application for an extension or revocation of an order must be part of case planning and approved by the District Director. 

    Timeframe for an application to extend a protection order (time limited):

    • Planning should commence three months before the expiry of the order. 

    • The approval process should start at two months before the expiry of the order.

    • One month before expiry of the order, send the completed application and all supporting documentation to Legal and Business Services through the SharePoint Request Form page.  Complete the request form, attach required document using the 'Add Attachment' link, and select 'Duty Lawyer' button.  Then select 'Yes' from the drop-down menu 'Submit to Legal & Business Services' at the end of the form and save it to lodge the request. 

    If a case plan decision is made that an extension of a protection order (time-limited) is required commence planning for the application:

    Three months before the expiry date:

    You must include the rationale for seeking permission to extend the order in Form 250 and include information in the child's current Care Plan.  Access the relevant forms and guidance from Chapter 3.4 Stability and Connection Planning

     Two months before expiry of the order:

    Email the documentation for approval.  Form 250 – Permission to seek extension of a protection order (time limited) should be:

    • Signed and endorsed by the DD. 
    • Sent to the relevant RED signing and approval. 

    One month before expiry of the order:  

    Complete and forward Form 641 - Written Proposal for Child (s.143 proposal) with all supporting documentation to Legal and Business Services through the SharePoint Request Form page.  

    The Court may extend the order for a period not exceeding two years or revoke the order and make another protection order in respect of the child. A protection order (time-limited) can be extended more than once.  

    Children in the CEO's care under a protection order should be visited at a minimum every three months. 

    Record details of the visits and any new information about the child's needs across the nine dimensions of care in the Child Information Portal in Assist.

    Once the Team Leader or District Director approves the Quarterly Care Report, it will be generated and published in the case file. Refer to Chapter 3.4 Quarterly care review and Quarterly care reports for further detail.