Protection Orders

A Protection Order (sometimes referred to as a Court Order) is an instruction issued by the children's court about the care of a child that must be followed.

Protection Orders are made for the following reasons:

  • To reduce risk of abuse and neglect to the child
  • To promote the child’s safety and development, provide for their present and future care and wellbeing, and achieving an ongoing care arrangement that creates a sense of belonging
  • To implement the child and family's case plan, including setting goals, tasks and timelines and monitoring its progress to keep the plan on track
  • If the goal is to return the child to a parent or family member, to ensure that the family is empowered to function independently.

This information was obtained from the Child Protection Manual - Orders.

Interim Accommodation Order (IAO)Interim Accommodation Order (IAO)

An Interim Accommodation Order is made by the Children’s Court to state where the child must live until the next court date. This order is made when the magistrate at the Children's Court believes that there are issues that must be addressed for the child's safety and wellbeing.

At the end of the Interim Accommodation Order, the child's parents will have to go back to court with the Child Protection worker for the magistrate to make a final decision about the best way to ensure the child's safety and wellbeing.

Temporary Assessment Order (TAO)Temporary Assessment Order (TAO)

A Temporary Assessment Order is granted when the Children's Court thinks that the Child Protection workers are unable to properly carry out an investigation or assessment after a report of abuse or neglect is made. This order allows more time for the workers to clearly find out what is happening for the child and means that the child and parents must cooperate with the investigation and any other conditions that are attached to the order.

Family Preservation Order (FPO)Family Preservation Order (FPO)

A Family Preservation Order is made because the magistrate at the Children's Court determines the child's safety and wellbeing are at risk. This order is made because the Magistrate believes that with help, the child and their family can address the problems discussed in court.

A Family Preservation Order means the child will live at home with their parents and have regular visits from the Child Protection worker. The child's parents will still have responsibility for the child, but Child Protection will be responsible for supervising the child's care. The worker will work with both the child and their family to make sure that the child is safe and that the conditions of the order are followed.

Family Reunification Order (FRO)Family Reunification Order (FRO)

A Family Reunification Order is made when the Magistrate believes that the child's safety and development are at risk and need protection.

The purpose of this order is for the Department to decide where the child will live and who will look after the child. The Department and the child's carers will be able to make day-to-day and short-term decisions relating to the child's care. Decisions about major long-term matters however need to involve the parents of the child. An example of a long-term matter is where the child will go to school - this is a decision that needs the parents' input. Other matters however, like health or following the conditions of the order, will not always require the input of the parents and this is permitted by the law.

The Children's Court may have further conditions included on the order. If there are conditions that relate to the care of the child, then those conditions must be followed. The worker is required to clearly explain these conditions and help both the child and their family to follow them.

Care by Secretary Order (CBS)Care by Secretary Order (CBS)

A Care by Secretary Order is made because the magistrate at the Children's Court determines the child's safety and wellbeing are at risk.

This order means the Secretary of the Department has exclusive parental responsibility for the child's care and has all the rights and responsibilities that a parent would normally have. The purpose of this order is almost always to make arrangements for someone else to care for the child permanently.

A Care by Secretary order lasts for two years. If a permanent or long-term carer has not been found for the child, The Department can apply for the order to be extended for a further two years each time.

Long-term Care Order (LCO)Long-term Care Order (LCO)

A Long-term Care Order has been made by the magistrate at the Children's Court because the child needs ongoing protection.

The purpose of this order is for the child to be looked after by their long-term carers until they turn 18. The Department has exclusive parental responsibility for the child's care and has all the rights and responsibilities for the child that a parent usually has.

Permanent Care Order (PCO)Permanent Care Order (PCO)

A Permanent Care Order grants a person (other than a parent or the Secretary) custody and guardianship of a child. This is similar to an adoption, but it does not change the legal parentage of the child.

The court may make a Permanent Care Order if the child's parent has not had care of the child for at least 6 of the last 12 months, and it is satisfied that:

  • the parent is unable or unwilling to resume parental responsibility, or
  • it would not be in the child’s best interests for the parent to resume parental responsibility, and that
  • the person to assume parental responsibility for the child is a suitable person.

If an Aboriginal child is placed with a non-Aboriginal permanent carer, the court must be sure:

  • that there is no suitable Aboriginal permanent carer/s available
  • that the order complies with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle
  • it receives a positive report of the proposed permanent care order from an Aboriginal agency (eg. Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency)
  • a cultural plan has been prepared.

Whether the proposed carer is Aboriginal or not, an accredited Aboriginal agency:

  • must conduct the assessment, or 
  • be consulted as part of the assessment, and 
  • must endorse the application in all instances.
Therapeutic Treatment Order (TTO)Therapeutic Treatment Order (TTO)

A Therapeutic Treatment Order issued by the family division of the children’s court requires a child aged at least 10 years and under 15 years of age to attend community based treatment for problem sexual behaviours. The child does not need to be charged or found guilty of a sexual offence.  

Child protection will refer the child and their family to a Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services (SABTs) who will work with the child and family to address the harmful behaviours. Child Protection is responsible for the management of this order and will have regular face-to-face contact with the child, family and SABTS, to make sure the conditions of the order are followed and treatment is helping the child.

Where a Therapeutic Treatment Order is granted by the Court, Child Protection can also apply for a Therapeutic Treatment (Placement) Order. This allows the child to be placed away from home where this is necessary for the treatment. The placement order will only apply for the duration of the treatment order.

Therapeutic Treatment Orders can be made for a maximum of one year, with the option for a single extension of up to an additional year.

Children and families can access therapeutic treatment at a Sexually Abusive Behaviour Treatment Services without being subject to a Therapeutic Treatment Order. There is no cost for the family for their child to attend therapeutic treatment.

Metropolitan CourtsMetropolitan Courts

Melbourne Children's Court
477 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000
PO Box 13292, Law Courts Vic 8010
Tel: 8638 3300 Fax: 8601 6720
Email: [email protected]
Email: [email protected]

Cnr. Pearcedale Parade & Dimboola Road, Broadmeadows 3047
PO Box 3235, Broadmeadows Vic 3047

For enquiries about child protection matters:
Tel: 9221 8100 Fax: 9221 8139
Email: [email protected]

For enquiries about criminal and intervention order matters:
Tel: 9221 8900 Fax: 9221 8901

Cnr. Foster & Pultney Streets, Dandenong 3175
Tel: 9767 1300 Fax: 9767 1399

15 Fletcher Road, Frankston 3199
Tel: 9784 5777 Fax: 9784 5757

Jika Street, Heidelberg 3084
Tel: 8488 6700 Fax: 9458 3456

Moorabbin Justice Centre
1140 Nepean Highway, Moorabbin 3189
Tel: 9090 8000 Fax: 9090 8001
Email: [email protected]

39 Ringwood Street, Ringwood 3134
Tel: 9871 4444 Fax: 9871 4463

10 Foundry Road, Sunshine 3020
Tel: 9300 6200 Fax: 9300 6269

Cnr Duncans Rd & Salisbury St, Werribee 3030
Tel: 9974 9300 Fax: 9974 9301

Neighbourhood Justice Centre
241 Wellington Street, Collingwood 3066
Tel: 9948 8777 Fax: 9948 8799

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