A guide to emergency fostering


In life, situations can arise unexpectedly which may require a child needing immediate care. This is where flexible and responsive emergency foster carers are necessary, to help care and support vulnerable children during times of distress. Find out more about emergency fostering from our helpful guide.

What is emergency fostering? 

Emergency foster care is a type of short-term placement which provides immediate care for a child at short notice. This usually occurs when a child has been exposed to an unsafe environment, there is a sudden illness within the family, parents or carers that are suffering from mental or physical health problems or any other unexpected situation which may occur.  

Although circumstances can vary, many children are removed from their environment due to drug or alcohol misuse issues, violent or dangerous surroundings, unexpected bereavements and illnesses, or the parent or carer is having a difficult time and temporality unable to cope. There may be other siblings that are also affected by these unexpected situations, meaning they may need to be fostered in a sibling group.  

Why is emergency foster care important? 

In emergency situations, foster carers provide vulnerable children with somewhere comfortable, nurturing, loving and safe to stay during uncertain times and distress. Emergency foster care placements offer children who may be feeling scared, lonely or anxious, vital support when they need it the most. An emergency foster carer can make all the difference to a vulnerable child, making them feel more settled, supported and most importantly, safe.  

How long is an emergency foster placement? 

Emergency fostering placements can occur with very little warning, usually directly after the child or young person has been taken into care by the local authority. They may be required at any time of the day or night and are often temporary, lasting until other arrangements have been made for the child’s care.  

There are some instances where emergency short-term foster care can transform into long-term foster care. This is usually due to the assessment carried out by the local authority on the child’s family, carers or home environment to determine the status of reunification. If the child’s family are unable to care for the child due to an illness, accident or loss, the process may take longer. This is due to having to locate other further family members or guardians who can care for the child or children going forward. 

Emergency fostering placements may be required at any time of the day or night. We provide a 24-hour placement service to local authorities, so we’re able to support children and young people in these emergency situations. 

Can I become an emergency foster parent? 

Some foster carers may be on stand-by for this type of fostering as a speciality. However, it may be a case of selecting a foster carer that is geographically closest to the child or children as the best choice for an emergency placement. This is to cause no further disruption to the child’s home and school life.  

To become an emergency foster carer, you must meet the minimum legal requirements as well as be able to demonstrate flexibility and responsiveness to a vulnerable child’s needs. This is particularly important as there may be very little information provided about the child and their experiences who may be placed in your care. During an emergency placement, an emergency foster carer may be interrupted by a call from the fostering agency who will require you to provide immediate support, safety and care to a child, young person, or siblings in need.

How much do emergency foster carers get paid? 

The amount an emergency foster carer gets paid is dependent on the type of foster care and age of the foster child in your placement. At Excel Fostering, we offer a generous allowance, to help you care for the child, young person or children in your care. We also provide 24/7 support, guidance and training, 365 days a year to help you provide the best care possible as a foster parent.  

If you’re interested in becoming an emergency foster carer, or looking to learn more about what to expect from short-term foster placements, get in touch with a member of our helpful team here at Excel Fostering today.  

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

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