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Emergency foster care

  • Emergency foster placements are needed at short notice and without much time to plan.  
  • The child or young person will require immediate care and so emergency foster parents need to be on hand without much warning.  
  • This is a very important type of foster care and we are always looking for more emergency carers 

There are many different types of foster care and emergency foster care is one area which is often overlooked.

What is emergency foster care?

Whilst in an ideal world, all foster placements are planned in advance, sometimes this just isn’t possible.

For many different reasons, some children come into the foster system on an emergency basis, requiring immediate care. Emergency foster care placements provide shorter-term care for children who may need somewhere to stay with little warning, and because there is no way of predicting when emergency care will be needed, carers who provide this service need to be available at very short notice, at night and on weekends, as well as during the day.

Emergency care can be required for a number of reasons. Circumstances vary, but children may have been removed from their parents because of drug or alcohol misuse issues, because they are having a difficult time, or are temporarily unable to cope. Children may be entering care because their home environment is unsafe, or perhaps because their parents or carers are suffering from physical or mental health problems. Individuals can also come into emergency foster care due to unexpected bereavements, leaving children with nowhere to go and requiring an immediate place to stay until longer term arrangements can be made.

Emergency foster care ensures children have somewhere safe to stay while care proceedings take place or an alternative long-term home can be found, perhaps through the adoption process or in the care of family and friends. Placements can last days or weeks and sometimes months or longer. This means you may need to take on a transitional role, preparing the child and their future carers for their lives together.

Is emergency foster care for you?

Children who need an emergency placement will be scared and confused. They may be coming to terms with a very difficult and traumatic event but will be too young to fully understand what has happened. They will find themselves in a strange environment away from the people they know and love which means that emergency foster parents need to be extraordinarily patient and understanding.

The length of an emergency placement can vary depending upon the situation. Whilst most last for just a few days and allow link workers time to plan and make more permanent arrangements, sometimes, emergency placements work well and can become more permanent. It is therefore important that emergency carers can be flexible in the length of time they are available to look after a child.

Although emergency foster caring can be unpredictable and demanding, it can also be extremely rewarding. Being there for a child at a time when they need you the most and having the opportunity to offer safety and kindness to a vulnerable young person is a real privilege that makes fostering worthwhile.

We ensure that our carers receive all of the support and training they need so you will never be alone. As an emergency foster carer, you will look after a variety of different children and the short-term nature of the work involved gets you used to fostering and all that it entails.

If you’d like to find out more about emergency foster care, get in touch today. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide further information on this important and incredibly rewarding role.

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