Foster Care

What is Emergency Foster Care & How Does It Work?

There isn’t always a lot of notice for foster parents when emergencies happen. When they do, emergency foster care is there to help children in need.

Foster care helps children that can’t stay with their family, for whatever reason. 

Because these reasons are very different for each child, there are many types of foster care to help them. For example, therapeutic foster care provides special care to children with emotional or behavioral challenges.  

Emergency foster care is another example of foster care that is provided in special cases.

What is Emergency Foster Care?

Emergency foster care provides short-term care for children who are at immediate risk with very short notice. Unfortunately, in some cases, this could be as short as a few hours of warning. 

There are many reasons why a child in care may need emergency foster care, such as:

  • Violence in the home
  • Severe accident in the home, such as a fire
  • A loss of the home
  • A sudden illness or death in the family

In events like these where care is needed right away, emergency foster care comes to the rescue and helps provide a safe place to go right away. 

How Does Emergency Foster Care Work?

The goal of foster care is to reunite a child with their family or with an adoptive family. Because of this, foster care is meant to be a short term solution.

Emergency foster care is an even more short-term solution. Every state has different rules for emergency foster care, but in general, it’s meant to last anywhere from 3 days to a month. 

When a child needs emergency foster care, a social worker will contact a list of emergency foster care providers. These are selfless individuals who are willing to take calls at any time of day — including the middle of the night. 

During an emergency foster care stay, organizations will make every effort to find a more permanent care solution. Typically, this is either a relative or a more traditional foster care provider. 

Emergency Foster Care Requirements

In most states, the requirements to become an emergency foster care provider are the same as in traditional foster care. 

It may vary slightly depending on the state, but these include:

  • A minimum age of 21
  • Sufficient income to support a child for their stay
  • Be free of diseases or illnesses that could endanger a child
  • Be able to provide a safe space 

Where the requirements are different is with the urgency — emergency foster parents may have to take in children with incredibly short notice.

Accidents and tragedies can happen quickly, and we need selfless emergency foster parents to answer the call when they do. 

Who is Right For Emergency Placement?

Emergency foster care isn’t for everyone — as we mentioned, it takes a special kind of person for emergency placement. 

You’ll need to be open to having to take in a child with very short notice. In some cases, this could be as little as a few hours.

Just like with regular foster care, it’s important for siblings to remain together. You’ll also need to be okay with this — is your home set up for multiple children? If not, you may not want to consider being an emergency foster parent.

Aside from these two specifics, emergency foster parents have many of the same traits as traditional foster parents. They’re selfless, caring, giving, and patient — no matter what a child may be going through. 

Learn More About How Sevita’s Companies Help With Emergency Foster Care

Sevita’s companies provide support to foster parents providing all different kinds of care — including emergency foster care.

Discover more about how our services create loving and caring homes for children in need.

Become a Foster Parent

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