The number of emergency placements of children has increased rapidly in Norway over the recent years. Nevertheless, there is little knowledge about how parents experience the processes involved in emergency placements. We conducted 64 survey interviews with parents who have experienced this kind of placement of their children. One third of the participants' children had received interventions prior to the emergency placement. Another third were known by Child Welfare Services (CWS) through reports of concern, which were dismissed without interventions and, in some cases, without investigation. The final third had no prehistory from CWS ahead of the emergency placement. A large proportion of the participants emphasized that they had experienced problems for a long time and had earlier requests for help unmet. Another large group of parents notified CWS themselves, and some of them wanted their child emergency placed. On the basis of parents' experiences, we suggest different implications for practice: (a) CWS should be more thorough in their investigation and assessment of the families, both when it comes to reports of concern and evaluation of initiated interventions. (b) Planned placement should be promoted to a greater degree, wherever possible. (c) A greater emphasis on follow‐up of parents after emergency placements is needed.