Emergency Foster Care

What is emergency foster care?

Emergency foster care refers to a temporary arrangement in which children and youth are placed in the homes of trained and licensed foster parents during urgent or crisis situations. This type of foster care is typically utilized when a child’s safety or well-being is at immediate risk, and there is a need for swift intervention.

Emergency foster placements may also arise from unforeseen events or circumstances, including incidents like violence within the child’s or young person’s home, a sudden parent hospitalization, the death of a parent, accidents, or safeguarding concerns.

Could you provide a safe and nurturing home to a vulnerable child or young person? If the answer is yes, then emergency fostering might be the right fit for you.

About emergency foster care?

  • Urgent Situations: Emergency foster care is activated in situations where a child or young person is removed from their home due to concerns about abuse, neglect, or other circumstances that pose an immediate threat to their safety.


  • Temporary Placement: The placement in emergency foster care is intended to be temporary. It allows authorities and child welfare agencies time to assess the situation and determine the best course of action for the child’s long-term well-being.


  • Licensed Foster Parents: Emergency foster care is provided by individuals or families who are licensed and trained as foster parents. These individuals undergo specific training to handle emergency situations and provide a safe and nurturing environment for children in crisis.


  • Collaboration with Authorities: Child protective services, social workers, and other relevant authorities play a crucial role in coordinating emergency foster care placements. They work to ensure the safety of the child and assess the circumstances leading to the emergency placement.


  • Transition to Permanent Care: After the initial emergency period, the child may either be reunited with their biological family if the issues have been resolved, placed in a different type of foster care, or moved towards adoption if it is determined that returning home is not in the child’s best interest.

Emergency Place of Safety Service

Emergency foster care may be required at any time of the day or night, as well as weekends. Five Rivers Fostering operates a nationwide Emergency Place of Safety Service on behalf of Tusla. We have families who are on call night times and over the weekends so we’re able to help children during times of emergency.. 

If the Gardai or Tusla come across children and young people who need a place of safety outside of normal office hours they can make contact with Five Rivers Fostering Social worker on call who will undertake a risk assessment and look to match the young person with one of our emergency families. 

These placements are very temporary. EPS families are usually open to considering welcoming a wide range of children into their home for short periods. It is important to be non-judgemental, and able to offer warmth, comfort and a welcome to children who have experienced a difficult time. Helping children to feel safe is very important.

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency foster care is a critical component of the broader foster care system, which aims to provide a stable and supportive environment for children who cannot live with their biological families due to safety concerns. The goal is to ensure the well-being and development of the child while working towards a more permanent and stable living arrangement.

Emergency fostering entails a short-term placement in foster care, ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. Typically unplanned and with minimal notice, it often doesn’t allow for formal introductions between foster parents and the child. Sometimes these placements can develop into longer periods of a few months, or longer-term, depending on family circumstances.

Being taken out of their home can be deeply distressing for a child, even if it’s for their own safety. As an emergency foster parent, you must provide a warm, inviting, and stable home environment.

The role requires readiness for a phone call at any hour, as emergency placements can occur spontaneously. These children are often brought to you by a local authority duty social worker or even the police.

Children in emergency foster care may be frightened and exhibit challenging behavior due to a tumultuous home life. Compass collaborates with our emergency foster carers, offering preparation for these situations and support during the transitional period.

If you believe you possess the qualities to be an emergency foster parent, please reach out to us. We are seeking resilient, compassionate individuals to join the Compass family, and we offer a generous fostering allowance.

Foster parents may have minimal information about the background of the child or young person in need of emergency foster care. In such instances, flexibility, adaptability, and preparedness are crucial.

We provide training, support, and expertise to assist both you and the children under your care. Consider us an extended and friendly team, available round the clock to address any questions or concerns you may have. Our training, support and expertise are available to help you and the children in your care.

Becoming an emergency foster carer is simple. If you feel you fit the criteria above and think emergency foster care is something you’d be interested in, contact Five Rivers Fostering today.

For more information about the expenses and compensation for emergency foster care, we recommend visiting our financial support page for detailed information.