Emergency placements are unplanned, occur at very short notice, and are required when it is deemed to be in the child's best interest to be urgently removed from their current home and given an immediate foster placement.
The task of a foster carer in these circumstances is to provide support on a day to day basis whilst preparing the child for moving on in the near future.
These situations often involve a lot of work with social care professionals and a variety of different agencies, especially when the child or young person is first placed with you.
It may well be that in these emergency situations not a lot is known about precise family circumstances. In these cases your role as a foster carer is to assist the professional team in gaining an understanding of the child and their behaviour.
Some young people are remanded by the courts into local authority care for specific periods of time - usually a few weeks, so these placements are always short term.
The remand foster carer works closely with the youth offending team in supporting and helping a young person to make changes in their life at this crucial time.
Remand foster carers need to have experience of teenagers and ideally an understanding of the youth justice system.
Ideally there should be two foster carers in the household for remand cases and those carers must be able to dedicate all their time to providing adequate and suitable attention to placements - often at short notice. They will need to regularly accompany young people to court and police stations, and there will be the need to attend other important case meetings and appointments as required.
Additional support is provided for remand foster carers in the form of a specific separate allowance scheme, additional equipment such as mobile phones, pagers and stationery and support from workers in the youth offending team who work directly with the young person and to whom they are accountable.
Short term placements
Some children may only need to be looked after for a few days (or maybe as long as a month) to give their natural parents a respite break.
Other short term placements can range from an overnight stay to over two years. These are usually made because of concerns that a child's needs are not being met in their own family.
The local authority, and sometimes the courts, will work with the family to try and arrange for the child to return home, however they may eventually need an alternative permanent family.
In some cases short term carers apply to become the child's permanent carer.
Permanent homes are needed for some children (usually over 8 years old) who need family support until they are able to live independently.
Usually these children will have had disrupted and traumatic lives before they come to you.
They may have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse and may have behavioural difficulties. These children may not find it easy to trust others and build positive relationships because of their earlier experiences.
The relationship between you and the child differs from adoption because they continue to be the legal responsibility of Croydon Council.
This is particularly suited to older children who identify strongly with their birth families, because permanent fostering offers them the opportunity to maintain strong links with their natural parents.
Our hope is, however, that you would stay in touch even after they leave your direct care in order to support them into adulthood.
Children needing a permanent foster home will need a lot of patience, understanding and nurturing. They can be emotionally demanding and challenging, and in some ways may need to be looked after as though they were a younger child because their development has been affected by the traumatic experiences in their lives.
In our experience, children with such needs thrive best in families where they are not in competition with children of a similar age. However they may benefit a great deal from having older teenagers as appropriate role models.