Emergency and short-term fostering is when a carer is available to be able to take on children whenever it is needed.

Emergency fostering

Emergency foster carers provide care for children and young people where there is a need for them to be in a safe and secure environment at very short notice. These placements could be due to a number of unanticipated events such as violence in the child’s or young person’s home, parent taken to hospital with a sudden illness, death of a parent or an accident or safeguarding issue.

Emergency fostering placements could be anything from one night to 10 days usually and after often unplanned with little to no notice, there usually isn’t time for foster parent and child introductions. Carers may be called at any time they are available to provide a placement – day or night. A child who comes into emergency care may be very traumatised or upset and vulnerable, feeling lost scared and anxious and we require emergency carers that would be confident in their ability to help and support a child whilst in heightened emotional states to feel welcome, safe and secure.

Short-term fostering

Short-term fostering is for children and young people who need to be looked after in temporary foster care. ​​All children usually go initially to live with short-term foster carers while decisions are made about their future. Usually, a child needs a short-term foster carer because their families are unable to look after them for a particular time.

Some of the reasons include that their parents or guardians are unwell or finding it difficult to cope with caring for a child at that time, the child is waiting to be adopted or that the family is going through care proceedings – so the child goes into foster care while decisions are made about who will look after them in the future.

Short term fostering can range from just one night to a few weeks, to several months, or even years. It all depends on the individual circumstances of the child and their family. Afterwards, the child might return to their own family or go into a longer fostering placement or become adopted. Compared to other kinds of fostering, short term foster parents often have higher levels of contact with the children’s birth family whilst assessments are underway, and can also be involved in introducing children to their new adoptive families.


 Get in touch

We believe in every child’s potential – if you do too, and have the skills we need, then emergency fostering could be for you.

If what you have read so far makes you think you could play a special role in a young person’s life, get in touch with one of our team to find out more by calling
0300 126 1009
or completing an enquiry online:

Enquire about emergency fostering