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FAMILY LAW - Homepage



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Care orders

What is a care order?

A care order places a child in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) either temporarily or permanently.

Are there different types of care orders?

Yes. The HSE may apply to the courts for a number of different orders when dealing with children who are at risk or who are in need of care. These orders give the courts a range of powers (including decision-making) about the type of care necessary and about access to the children for parents and other relatives. The following is a summary of these orders:

Emergency care order

An emergency care order places a child in the care of the HSE for a period of not more than 8 days. It is sometimes accompanied by a search and find warrant to enable the Gardaí or other people remove a child to safety.

Care order

A care order allows a child to be removed from the care of parents or other guardians, either temporarily or permanently, and committed to the care of the HSE. A care order can continue until the child is 18 years.

Interim care order

The HSE can apply for an interim care order pending the making of a full care order. The effect of the order is that the child is placed in the care of the HSE for a period not exceeding 28 days. This period may be extended by the District Court if both the HSE and any parent with custody of the child consents.

Supervision order

A supervision order allows the HSE monitor a child considered to be at risk. The child is not removed from his or her home environment. A supervision order will be for a fixed period of time not longer than 12 months initially.

Court Forms



Relevant legislation

  • Child Care Act, 1991
  • Children Act, 2001

Court Rules

  • S.I. No. 93 of 1997:District Court Rules
Page updated: 25 March 2011