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Emergency Foster Care


Being a foster carer involves being flexible – each foster placement involves a child or young person with a distinct personality and life experience you will need to adapt to. Emergency foster care not only calls for flexibility – it calls for special skills and preparation. Your nights might be interrupted by an emergency call. Emergency fostering is a response to a situation that can take place at any time of the night or day.

What is emergency foster care?

Emergency foster care is when foster carers respond to urgent situations where a young person or child may require to be immediately fostered. The cause of a child needing emergency foster care can be due to violence in the child’s home, a fire, an accident, a sudden illness, or any number of other unanticipated and unpleasant events.

Suddenly a child is left without a family or a home. Sometimes, there is more than one child or young person affected and a sibling group needs immediate protection, known as emergency care. On top of this, there is chaos in the child’s life which can affect his or her behaviour. Capstone Foster Care works closely with its foster carers and knows which carers have the space for handling urgent situations and taking in children for a few days on a moment’s notice through emergency fostering.

Emergency foster placements

Some foster carers prefer being on stand-by for emergency placements. It is their speciality. However, in many cases, the foster family that is geographically the closest is the best choice for emergency foster care. It allows for the least amount of disruption in the child’s life. There is no need to change schools or leave friends. Because of this, it’s important that foster homes open their door in emergency cases, to allow for foster care emergency placements.

How long is emergency fostering for?

Emergency fostering is often short term, lasting a day or two, while social workers assess the child’s birth parents. Once an assessment by a social worker has been carried out on families involved in emergency foster care, a court determination will be made whether the child will return to the family home, continue to be fostered, or placed for adoption.

In some circumstances, such as sudden illness, death of a parent, or accident, it’s a matter of locating family members who may be able to look after children and young people. In child protection cases, the situation is different. There may be no immediate alternative for the babies, children, or teenagers in emergency care other than being placed into care for a longer period of time.

Why emergency foster care is so important

Foster carers are able to provide children their essential needs, which include a safe home and a sense of security. Emergency fostering could transform into long term foster care for this child. The child might be with you for hours, days, a few weeks or months, or until he or she is adopted or ages out of the system.

It is worth noting that it is the local authority that makes the decision regarding the child and whether he or she should stay in care. It is only when the decision to place the child in care is made that an independent fostering agency such as Capstone steps in.

Becoming a foster carer is a rewarding and learning experience. If you wish to know more about fostering, or emergency foster care, contact Capstone Foster Care or call us on 0800 012 4004. Upon approval as a foster carer, you will have the help, training, and support you need whether it is an emergency foster placement or not.


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