Emergency fostering, experiences?

(7 Posts)
KareninsGirl Tue 29-Oct-13 12:24:41

Would be appreciative of your experiences. It's something I'd really like to do but have no idea what the process is...and would love to hear some 'real life' stories.

Thanks in advance.

scarlet5tyger Tue 29-Oct-13 14:04:10

Hi, lots of my placements are "emergency" placements. They usually arrive fairly late in the evening - although the latest for me has been 8.30 pm other carers I know have had them arrive much later.

Quite often they arrive with very little except the clothes they stand in. They're obviously very distressed, but then so are "planned" placements.

As they are placed out of hours their social worker, if they have one, often won't be available to give you any information about them.

Don't be conned by the idea that emergency placements will be only with you for a night or two (even though most SWs will tell you this). The shortest emergency placement I had lasted 6 months.

You're probably best contacting your local authority, they often have open nights and should be happy to discuss all different types of fostering with you. Just a word of warning though - my own Local Authority wouldn't take you on at the moment if you are only interested in "emergency" placements thinking these would be very short term. They simply don't have the money to train and support carers who are only interested in a specific area, and they can use the carers they already have if a placement really is only for a short time. They're not even recruiting for respite carers. Could you consider being a short term (usually upto 24 months) foster carer?

Feel free to ask any more questions.

KareninsGirl Tue 29-Oct-13 15:59:07

Thanks for the info. I did think emergency care meant very short term so I'm grateful for the heads up.

Yes, could possibly look to care for young people for up to 24 months.

I'm really only just starting out on this journey as currently both DCs are still at home and I'd also want to give up my job (working with teenagers) to focus on being a foster carer. I envisage it happening in a few years time, not imminently.

How long does the training take?

Thanks again!

jessie26 Thu 31-Oct-13 08:59:09

Hi KareninsGirl,

We currently have two siblings with us that we were asked to have for a few days - that was now 7 months ago. We also have other foster children here permenantly, as well as our own children, and had previously been doing respite fostering.

This was our first 'emergency placement' as scarlet said the children arrived wearing school uniforms and no other clothes or belongings at all. The children naturally arrived shocked and traumatised and we have all had a difficult time. We are however proud of being able to help them through this time and how far they have come. We have all enjoyed our time together, and it has been interesting to witness the process from the beginning. Legally it has been a very complicated case and so the children may may be with us for some months yet.

If you read my thread 'money, money, money' you will see we were unable to receive the money from our LA for the clothes/belongings the children needed (and they literally had NOTHING), and despite the fostering handbook saying we could claim for school uniform (they had to change schools and therefore we needed to buy everything from scratch) there was always been a technicality as to why this has not happened - the same for bedding/more furniture that we needed to buy. The children have also displayed destructive tempers, understandably knowing their history, and again the LA would not replace or help us financially in any way other than the basic £120/£140 fostering allowance per child (this includes everything). We have had to spend in excess of four figures as have had to replace an XBox 360, laptop, 2 mobile phones, many many of our own children's toys and belongings, mattresses and bedroom furniture and will need to redecorate fully when they leave. I am sorry to go on about money like this, but it has been a major factor for us and anything we have read/been informed that the LA do to help has simply not been true. It has therefore been a huge struggle financially for us and we have only been able to carry on by using our savings. Although we have so enjoyed this placement we would be financially be unable to do any more emergency placements because of how much it has cost us, and indeed the children too. Their other siblings have been placed with carers from an agency and are paid over three times more than us, in contact between them it has been sad to witness their siblings have so much more than these two - be that laptops, IPODS, new clothes or holidays/days out. It has all been so unfair and a huge financial drain on us. Were it not for our other children we would have quit fostering altogether.

So although I hope you will not be faced with a situation like this, and an LA like ours, please do consider that it is possible that lack of financial support could be an issue.

Good luck whatever you decide (and I promise not to go on and on about money again). From start to finish the training took about 8 months.

KareninsGirl Thu 31-Oct-13 16:36:17

Hi Jessie,

Thank you for your honesty. This is what I need to hear really...the reality of it all. It sounds like you've been taken advantage of somewhat by the LA, which I think is terrible.

Thank you again, I do appreciate you sharing x

Inthechelseahotel Sun 03-Nov-13 11:33:23

the financial support you can receive varies enormously. our LA is very supportive in most ways particularly in financial

dawdyman Tue 05-Nov-13 16:28:25

financial support does vary significantly from la to la and agency to agency.

Depending on who you foster for...I have seen emergencies for children placed at 2am and they have absconded by lunchtime the next day.... equally I have seen children placed in the middle of the night and they are still with carers 2 years later!

there are lots of variables in fostering. From experience, something like 70% of children placed into care happens in an emergency with little or no planning.

It is very rewarding and emergency carers, particularly those who can care for adolescents are in demand everywhere!

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