What is Emergency Foster Care?

Editorial Team By Editorial Team

The service of emergency foster care is timely and temporary. Emergency foster care simply refers to when children or young people are kept in a place temporarily. The service is required when the home is no longer safe for children or young people. 

Emergency fostering placements can arise due to 

  • Family problems 
  • Accidents in the house due to fire outbreaks 
  • When the family or guardian becomes sick or passes away. 
  • if there’s a police issue in the house
  •  An unexpected arrest of either of the parents or when the family is being evicted and the child is in discomfort.

In any of these cases, such vulnerable children are taken to emergency foster care temporarily. They help to nurture them, give them adequate feeding, and make them relaxed and comfortable. They also offer them emotional comfort by preparing them mentally. 

Who can become an Emergency Foster Parent?

You need to be flexible and accessible as an emergency foster care provider, though you may not require formal education to work. Also, you have to be fond of children. Having good interactive skills is a good lead.

Moreso, the services of a foster parent is provisional hence such people have to be smart. You’re likely to meet different kinds of children and young people under your custody. This is why you need to be prepared to help them in dealing with their situations. 

How do I become an Emergency Foster Parent?

All emergency foster care agencies have the same pattern for recruitment. You do not need to have a certain qualification before you can apply. (That is if you’re looking forward to working under a private agency). The emergency foster care requirements are simple and straightforward.

The first step in becoming an emergency foster parent is to take is to contact the fostering company you’re interested in working for. In some cases, Job adverts are being made available for recruitment. You can apply and proceed with other processes.

You can also contact the help team to make inquiries if there’s an available vacancy. If there is,  you can begin your application. 

Some agencies like Fostering People and Capstone Foster will require you to fill out a form and subsequently attend an interview. Most of the interviews are questions related to emergency fostering. You may stand a better chance if you have prior experience. 

As said earlier, you do not need any special qualifications to become an emergency foster care parent. You will be subjected to extensive timely training. You’ll also be equipped with every possible thing to make you prepared as an emergency foster care provider. 

Recall that they’re different types of fostering. You’re at liberty to choose any type of emergency fostering service you want to specialize in. 

How Much Does Emergency Foster Parents Earn? 

They’re two types of fostering allowances. 

  • The cost of living for the child: This includes the child’s feeding, clothing, transport, utilities, outings, or any other activities. 
  • The professional service fee: The professional fee is granted to the foster parents as a reward for their commitment and efforts in taking care of the child. 

One of the beauties of being an emergency foster care is that you can opt for a part-time job. Although the majority of the people work as foster parents full-time. So you see, most of the emergency foster care parents are very much appropriative of their earnings. 

There’s no theme of payment designed for emergency foster care parents. The service is timely and reimbursement is largely dependent on the type of fostering care. 

Every foster child has different needs and as such has different payments. For example, children being placed in Intensive Service Foster Care (ISFC) aren’t the same as other children. In this case, the emergency foster care parent can earn double folds of the amount earned if it involves a normal child. 

On the payment, an average foster parent in the UK can earn up to £22,00 annually. Some foster parents can earn as much as £35,000 depending on the nature of the services rendered. 

NB: This payment is only applicable to full-time workers. If you’re a foster parent in the UK but not working for full hours. Then the pay is different, you can earn between £130 to £240 every week. 

In a nutshell, the amount you earn from being an emergency foster care depends on the following factors; 

  • Your place of residence 
  •  The type of fostering care you provide 
  • The Age of the fostering child
  •  Experience. 

In counties like the UK, you may have to register as self-employed and fill out tax returns. However,  you must earn up to £10,000 before you start paying tax.  

On the contrary, you do not need to pay taxes as an emergency foster care in California. This is also the same for other states in the US.

Also, you’ve to bear in mind that there’s no absolute or fixed rate for emergency foster care parents. The pay can be exactly the figure stated above, or slightly higher or even less. For example, check out the breakdown of fostering allowances for Therapeutic fostering.

How do I become an Emergency Foster Parent in California?

Becoming an emergency foster parent in California isn’t different from any other place. However, there are special regulations across every location. If you’re looking forward to becoming a foster care parent in California, then this is what you’ve to do;

You’re to submit a full written application. The orientation is done together with the training. You’ll also need to undergo and become certified in CPR and FIRST aid. You’ll also be accessed both physiologically and socially. In addition to psychosocial assessment, there’ll be a home safety inspection to make sure that everything is in order.

Emergency foster parents can work outside their homes. However such cases can only arise when the foster child or children require daycare or after-school activities beyond what is offered for free by the public school system.  In that case, the emergency foster care parent will be responsible for the expenses. 

You do not need to own a large home with lots of bedrooms to work as an emergency foster care. Children under foster care can share the same bedroom with other children of the same sex or opposite. However such children must be of lower age. In California, such children must be 5yrs or less. 

 In California, foster children who are below 2 years old can stay in the same bed with the foster parent.

Requirements to become an Emergency Foster Care Provider 

Emergency foster care requires some level of professionalism, therefore not everyone is eligible to set up one. There are a series of requirements you need to meet before you can become a foster parent. 

If you’re thinking of becoming an emergency foster care provider, kindly read through the information I’ll be providing below. 

It is important to have in mind that foster care laws differ from state to state. However, the general regulations require you to be;

Over 21 years

While some states have their minimum age requirements pegged at 18. The majority of the states require you to be over 21 years old. 

Individuals who are below this age aren’t eligible to become emergency foster care providers. 

Have a sustainable source of income

To be licensed to work as an emergency foster care provider. You need to have a regular source of income. You’re not obliged to spend your money on the service. You’re also required to be financially sufficient before you apply for emergency foster care. 

Interestingly, there is no specific amount of money that you should have in your account. However, it should be enough to take care of your foster children during the most unanticipated time. 

Zero criminal records

To be eligible to apply for the job of emergency foster care. You must have no record of felony convictions or even misdemeanours. You must be free of any cases of child or elderly abuse. Cases of sexual abuse are also a big no. 

Other requirements include;

  •  Have a home with enough bedrooms to host your foster children. 
  •    Submitting a home assessment of all family members.

When can I access the Service of Emergency Foster Care?

There is no particular time that you should visit an emergency foster care provider. foster care services are available to attend to emergencies. The services are available 24-7 hours. If you’re interested in any, do not hesitate to contact them as early as possible.

How long can Emergency Foster Care Services take? 

There is no stipulated amount of time that a child can be kept in emergency foster care. While the service is temporary, the placement can last for hours, days, or even weeks. 

In cases where the family still lives in chaos. Such if the children still feel unsafe, then it can be delayed. Long-term services can also come to term if the family of the child is untraceable. In that case, the child can stay for months or even years. 

Private Fostering Agency or Local Authorities; Which is better?

You have to bear in mind that they’re two types of fostering agencies. The local and private fostering agencies. Children who are of age and have special needs or complications are normally taken to private fostering. This is because they are trained professionals there who can handle the children more perfectly.

Local agencies are those that specialize in giving homely or domestic services. Often, children placed with the local authorities are those of lesser age, or with little or no complications. Thinking of what a local fostering agency looks like? Read more about the Ann & Anthony fostering journey.


Emergency foster care jobs are highly demanded in many countries. If you are interested in working as one or may need the services, do not hesitate to go for it.

Although due to the nature of the job, there’s no room for a formal introduction beforehand. This is because emergencies are unanticipated and require urgent intervention. However, the security of fostered children is guaranteed.

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