Often in life, situations can quickly arise where a child may need immediate care or protection. These situations could occur for a number of reasons, such as illness or an accident in the home – which is why, as an emergency foster carer, it’s important that you are flexible and responsive, as well as having the expertly trained skills and knowledge to deal with a situation effectively. Learn more about what emergency fostering is and the different types of emergency foster care placements from our detailed guide.
What is emergency foster care?
Emergency fostering placements offer short-term care for children and young people who need a place to stay. Often, this can come at short notice – as the children in need of emergency care may have been exposed to an unsafe environment, a sudden illness in the family or other unanticipated situations which could occur.
Some of the reasons why children would need emergency foster care could be due to drug or alcohol misuse, as well as any physical or mental health problems. However, sometimes, the parents of the children simply cannot cope with the demands of caring for a child.
Having the option of emergency fostering allows these young people to be transferred into a safe environment while social workers can assess the situation in the family home, and decide on the next best steps for the child in foster care. It’s likely that, if the parents can no longer care for the child, social workers will be attempting to find an alternative longer-term placement for the foster child to live. As an emergency foster carer, your role will typically be one that is transitional, preparing the child for their next steps.
Emergency placements for foster care
In some cases, emergency fostering can transform into longer-term care for the child, if reuniting the child with their biological family is out of the question. Yet, on the other hand, emergency foster care can also be as short as a few days or even hours. It’s not always easy to tell how long emergency foster placements will last – a social worker will carry out assessments on the birth parents and the environment at home. This will determine whether the child can be reunified with their biological parents, or whether the child needs to be placed into more permanent care.
Being removed from their family home is a troubling time for any child, regardless of how old they are. Here at FosterCare UK, we are aware of which carers have the extra space for handling urgent foster care situations. As a foster carer, you can choose to be on stand-by for emergency foster care as one of your preferences, however, it’s likely that when choosing the emergency placement, the closest foster family will be selected. This is to allow for as little disruption as possible to their home and school life.