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Child Custody: Emergency Custody of a Child

Factors Considered When Establishing Emergency Custody


Asian mother and daughter relaxing on sofa
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There are situations that require a non-parent to assume emergency custody of a child. Here is some information about emergency child custody:

Reasons Why a Child Would Be Taken Into Emergency Custody

Prior to taking a child into emergency custody, a court will consider the efforts made to prevent the child from being removed from the home. However, if a child must be taken into emergency custody, the reasons may be:

  • The child is in immediate danger and needs protection
  • The child's current living arrangements pose an immediate danger to the child's safety and welfare
  • The child's current living arrangement does not serve the best interests of the child
  • Child abandonment

Who May Take a Child Into Emergency Custody?

  • A police officer
  • A peace officer
  • Designated court personnel

Where does the child go after Emergency Custody

When a police or peace officer takes a child into emergency custody, the child may go to a:

  • Medical facility for treatment
  • Behavioral treatment facility for evaluation
  • Kinship foster home
  • Returned to the home, once the court determines there is no immediate threat of abuse or neglect
  • Emergency guardian, designated by a parent

For more information about emergency custody of a child, speak with a qualified attorney in your state or visit additional resources about temporary child custody.

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