Section 2, Chapter 6 (Referrals to the Juvenile Court), Subsection 3 – Protective Custody

(Effective 04/15/19)

6.3 Protective Custody

6.3.1 Emergency Protective Custody


6.3 Protective Custody                                

Protective custody means the taking of physical custody of a juvenile by a physician, law enforcement officer, or juvenile officer as provided by law, and the retention of physical custody of a juvenile in temporary protective custody, protective custody, or detention.

There are three ways in which a child can be taken into protective custody:                                                                                

  1. Emergency protective custody taken by a police officer, law enforcement official, physician, or juvenile officer;
  2. A judge signs an order without holding a court hearing due to emergency circumstances;
  3. As a result of a court hearing.

6.3.1 Emergency Protective Custody

Pursuant to Section 210.125, RSMo., a police officer, law enforcement official, or a physician may take temporary protective custody when there is reasonable cause to believe that:

    • A child is in imminent danger of suffering serious physical harm or threat to life as a result of abuses or neglect; and
    • The harm or threat to life may occur before the juvenile court can issue an order or the juvenile officer take the child

Elements of imminent danger include:

    1. The danger must be imminent or immediate;
    2. A threat to life or serious physical harm, or the child has been sexually abused or is in imminent danger of sexual abuse; and
    3. Action needs to be taken immediately to prevent further harm.

Police officers, law enforcement officials, or physicians may use the Authorization to Provide Alternative Care (CS-33) form to authorize emergency protective custody.

When protective custody is taken without a court order, the juvenile officer must obtain a court order continuing protective custody within twenty-four (24) hours of the authorization.