Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Short-term & Emergency foster care is the difference between children & families’ need to access vital support networks and reducing the need for long-term foster care. Children are often moved with short notice and taken to emergency foster care, usually with only the clothes they wear. Sadly, other children suffer abuse or neglect, and Social Services decide to remove children from the family home. These decisions are heartbreaking and are not made lightly.
As you would imagine, not everyone agrees with these decisions, and this decision is heartbreaking for many families, especially parents, grandparents, and significant people in children’s lives. Many don’t know where their grandchildren are, and not knowing is often worse than knowing. Thankfully, emergency foster carers understand and care for children whilst keeping important contact links going until decisions are made on the child’s future.
A decade of austerity, a pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis has taken their toll…
We have suffered a decade of austerity, lived through a pandemic, and now face a massive cost of living crisis. Because of these factors, many people in our communities are currently struggling. Sadly, poverty and neglect are now the highest reasons children go into care.
Local Authorities and Fostering Charities need emergency and short-term foster carers to look after children as the number of children in care grows. These foster carers provide a safe and loving home as decisions are made on children’s futures. More importantly, they care for children as many parents and families gain access to the vital support networks they need. However, these are challenging times. A decade of austerity, a global pandemic, and a massive cost of living crisis have taken their toll. More than ever, families and vulnerable children need a helping hand to get by. But, as a community, we are in this together. Can you foster?
Emergency & short-term foster carers keep children in the communities they belong.
Emergency care foster carers must be available anytime, day or night, and have a spare bedroom ready for use. In the first few days of foster care, Social workers try to find family members or people within the children’s network to care for them. However, if this isn’t possible, they find short-term foster carers with skills and experience in care to match the children’s needs.
These Social workers know that it is in the child’s best interest to stay with family in their community. More importantly, they know that children’s routines are precious. These routines include school, playing with friends, being with people they love, and, most importantly, those who love them back. Keeping children within their community is always the best option to meet the child’s needs. However, we need more emergency foster carers to make this a reality.
Emergency foster care lasts from one night to a month…
Emergency and short-term foster carers know their role is to offer short-term support to children when they need it most. Also, they are not foster carers because they want to provide a long-term home to a child. They offer emergency and short-term foster care because they understand that children belong to someone who ultimately needs help. Therefore, emergency foster care is the difference that many children and their families need.
Also, emergency and short-term foster care fit the lifestyle and jobs of these foster carers. Especially for people who have a spare bedroom that grandchildren may occupy. More and more, I hear from people who say that grandchildren might not stay often; but the room is there, just in case! Also, these people understand the importance of doing what they can, when they can, as they know more than most about the importance of family.
Emergency foster care understands children are vulnerable.
Also, many people think about fostering, worrying about attachments and developing feelings for a child. Do they feel they would find it hard to hand children back? Although emotions are natural to build, they have seen a child at their most vulnerable, and subsequently, strong feelings grow. Who could fail to be moved as they know a child moved, often late at night, and taken to a stranger they have to trust?
Thankfully, emergency and short-term foster carers have empathy and understand that these children need consistent love and care. They know that sometimes life goes wrong, so they never judge, especially in today’s world.
Keeping contact with families of children in care is vital. Emergency and short-term foster carers understand their role; they know the importance of every family member’s child having contact with both the child and their families.
Children often have deep and loving relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends; these bonds are deep and have a mutual sense of belonging. These feelings are with people that children love and rely on. More importantly, the recipients share these feelings, and their trauma and separation anxiety from the child cuts deep. Therefore, consistent contact keeps vital bonds alive, retaining a sense of identity and belonging and, more importantly, the feeling of being loved.
Emergency foster care contact is vital.
We must remember that children belong to other people with families who miss them. Sadly, many families have had to watch helplessly as life challenges. They knew if they could change things, they would, but some relationships don’t allow this. However, having little people in their life is the most important thing to them, and contact is vital.
A child’s joy as they hear a parent’s voice or see the grandparents, they miss is huge. As they recognise a smile, smell the same and hug as before, they know their love is the same; nothing has changed. The bond of love is still strong, and they belong together. And although they are not together physically, they are in spirit and love; the feeling is natural, and nothing will ever change.
Emergency foster care keeps siblings together.
The first days of emergency and short-term foster care are important, especially for siblings. Siblings cope better with trauma as they draw strength from being together, and as a result, they settle easier. Therefore, when siblings enter the care system, we need emergency care foster carers willing to help them. However, there is a shortage of foster carers to foster siblings, especially in emergency and short-term foster care. As a result, siblings separate. Many foster carers are willing to take younger children; older children may end up in residential children’s homes, often miles away from the rest of their families. Subsequently, when this happens, the likelihood of reuniting grows slim.
Emergency and short-term foster carers often say that once siblings leave, it’s like having empty house syndrome over and over again. However, they wouldn’t change it for the world. These amazing foster carers kept siblings together when they needed each other most. Ultimately, they found space and love for children in their hearts and homes, no matter how long they needed them, and once gone, they knew they had done their job well. Also, they know the children are not theirs; they belong to someone else, and it is a privilege to care for them; until they move on.
Verve CIC – recruiting emergency foster care in the Not-for-Profit sector.
Verve Recruitment CIC exclusively recruits emergency and short-term foster carers for the Not-for-Profit sector. Firstly, we do this because we know that foster carers who give the best support need support, too; this is where Not for Profit Charities excel. Secondly, we don’t believe corporate businesses should use vulnerable children to make huge profits.
Many Independent Fostering Agencies make a lot of money from long-term foster care. So, I did the maths. A Local Authority that pays £2000.00 a week per child to an IFA for three siblings in long-term foster care over ten years probably explains why there is no money left over for vital children’s services. Also, it means these agencies have a very lucrative business. I’m not saying these agencies don’t offer fantastic care from their foster carers because they do, but they also pay huge bonuses and dividends to shareholders and directors.
Emergency foster care reduces the need for long-term foster care.
However, I am aware of children who cannot return to the family home, especially those who have suffered trauma and abuse. These children are matched with foster carers with skills and experience in care to meet their needs. However, early intervention is better.
My theory is if we recruit emergency and short-term foster carers for Local Authorities and Not for Profits, we can get families to access the invaluable support networks provided by the Not for Profit sector. Furthermore, wherever possible, the children who had once received emergency and short-term foster care reunite with their parents and carers. Or move into special guardianship and kinship care with families they belong to. More importantly, we will reduce the number of children in long-term foster care, keeping public money back in the public purse…
If you want to chat about foster care within the Not for Profit sector, please get in touch on the form below. There’s no cost or commitment, just honest advice from advisors who understand the world today, and together, we can all make a difference. Can you foster?