Short term fostering is when carers look after children while plans are made for the children’s future.  As a foster carer, you probably won’t receive a lot of initial warning about a short-term placement, but whenever possible fostering services will take care to place a child somewhere that meets as many of their needs as possible.  You may also have a chance to meet the child before they are placed with you – but this may not always be possible as short-term placements are sometimes made at fairly short notice.

Short term foster care also includes emergency care.  This is when children or young people need somewhere safe to stay immediately for a few nights.  Typically, you might get a call from your social worker asking if you can take a child, later that day, whose parents have been admitted to hospital or taken into police custody, or the child has just been removed from their home because of serious abuse or neglect.

Some carers specialise in taking emergency placements, but others may agree to take one because they recognise the importance of a safe, caring environment for a distressed and frightened child.  You will need to be very flexible and understanding when a child comes to your home in these situations. You will probably know very little about he or she, and they will know nothing about you, so you cannot expect the child to instantly adapt to your family life.  You will need to be adaptable and flexible to their needs.