Emergency fostering placements occurs when a child needs to be removed from their current environment immediately. These placements can occur at short notice and may last up to 72 hours.

Emergency fostering is one of the many different types of fostering we facilitate at Orchard Fostering. Read on to find out more about emergency fostering.

What is emergency fostering?

Emergency foster care may be needed in situations where a child initially or suddenly enters the care system. They may have been removed from the care of their family due to concerns for their welfare and protection. Emergency care may also be required if an existing placement breaks down and a child needs to be moved quickly.

When a situation or case arises in which a child needs to be removed from their home in an emergency situation, the TUSLA social worker may contact our referrals manager to seek a placement for the child. Our referrals manager will then contact our available emergency foster carers to find a suitable placement for that child or young person.

Emergency foster care is short term, typically lasting up to 72 hours. Emergency fostering is very important as it allows for a child’s essential needs – a safe home, a sense of security and reassurance – to be met during what can be a very difficult and uncertain time for them.

With this type of fostering, placements are short-term in nature. As emergency foster care placements are not predictable, you may not have a placement for a period of time and in other cases you may have multiple placements over a short period of time.

At Orchard Fostering, we are involved with emergency fostering as opposed to out of hours fostering. As such, the placements will take place within TUSLA operating hours of 9-5.

When is a child placed in emergency foster care?

There are many reasons a child may be placed in emergency fostering. Reasons may include abuse, neglect or immediate changes in family situations that may require the child to be taken into care by a TUSLA social worker.

What does an emergency foster carer do?

As this can be a traumatic and difficult time for the child, as an emergency foster carer, you provide a safe home and a sense of security and reassurance for the young person. Making the child feel welcome and at ease is a major part of emergency foster care.

Making the initial moments of your foster child’s experience in your home comfortable are essential for reducing their potential anxiety levels. Make the transition to your home as easy as possible by meeting your foster child at the door and bringing them across the threshold yourself – it’ll help them feel like they’re part of your family and are entering a safe, caring environment.

In emergency situations, a child often arrives with few belongings. As such, an emergency foster carer may have a selection of toys or clothes ready for the child prior to their arrival. This may help give the child a sense of control over their situation and ease them into their new environment.

There are lots of simple ways to ensure your foster child feels at ease from the moment they arrive in your home. You can learn more about ways to make your foster child feel at home here.

Should I become an emergency foster carer?

It can be extremely stressful and confusing for a child when they come into emergency care. They need a calming environment to combat these stresses. If you believe you can provide a calming, loving environment in the face of trying times, we would love to hear from you.

As well as a calming environment, you must be a calm person yourself. If you choose to become an emergency foster carer, you will get the chance to make a difference to the lives of a lot of young people who enter the care system. As these are emergency situations, this can sometimes be difficult given the range of different background and experiences these young people may be coming from or traumas they may present with. At Orchard Fostering, we have supports in place to help you manage any issues that may arise or worries you may have.

Flexibility and an ability to organise are other traits essential to an emergency foster carer. As we’ve mentioned, an emergency foster placement can start at short notice and for short periods. As such, you need to be flexible enough to accommodate the foster children who enter your life. If you’re a flexible and dynamic person, then you’re the type of person for emergency fostering.

How do you become an emergency foster carer?

Becoming an emergency foster carer is simple. If you feel you fit the criteria above and think emergency foster care is something you’d be interested in, contact Orchard Fostering today.

If you’re wondering about the costs and the emergency foster care pay we suggest to take a look on our financial support page for more information.