What is Apprehension?

Apprehension Order

This order gives the director the authority to take the child from the custody of his/her guardian.  If the director determines that reasonable and probable belief exists that a child is in need of intervention, he/she can make an application to the court for this order.  An apprehension order can also be granted if a child that was in the director’s custody has either left or been removed without the director’s consent.   


When authorities confirm the need for protection following an investigation, or when circumstances change in an open case, a child may be taken into the care of Child and Family Services by means of warrant or a court order to remove the child from the home.  An application for a warrant or court order to search for and remove (apprehend) a child from the home is made to the court or a justice of the peace, depending on the jurisdiction.  If a child has not been returned to the parent/guardian within 2 days of being apprehended, then the director must make an application the Court within 10 days for a supervision order, a temporary or permanent guardianship order, or an order returning the child to parent/guardian’s care.  

Emergency Apprehension 

A director / peace officer may apprehend a child without an order if there are reasonable / probable grounds that the child’s life or health is seriously endangered because:

  • abandoned, lost, no guardians;
  • Child has left the custody of their guardian without consent;
  • Substantial risk that child will be physically injured / sexually abused.

Through the Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA) , an abusive family member may be removed from the home without criminal charges being laid. In an emergency, a police officer or a Director may obtain an Emergency Protection Order by phone. A warrant may also be obtained that allows a police officer to enter a home and check that a person is safe if no one has been able to see that person for a significant period of time.

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