Emergency Bed Fostering Scheme

This chapter was added to the manual in February 2015.

1. Aims

To provide a placement for children/young people between the ages of 0 and 17 who need an immediate foster placement and where direct placement with a general foster carer cannot be made.

2. Operation of Scheme

The resource is a bed rotation based scheme involving foster families providing an emergency foster bed. The carers are on duty for six weeks, followed by a two week break. The scheme operates on a seven night/eight day cycle. Children will have a maximum placement opportunity of seven nights but, can move sooner if an appropriate longer term placement is identified. It is vital that children DO NOT move between emergency beds. The nature of the scheme does not allow for placements to be extended beyond the seven night maximum. It does provide a time limited window of opportunity for emergency Care Planning. It is therefore essential that children using this resource are allocated to an active social worker.

3. Expectation of Emergency Bed Foster Carer

  • Foster carers will not be responsible for collecting unknown children from police stations etc. but will receive children into their homes accompanied by social workers with the appropriate placement information and consent forms completed;
  • The carers will accept all placement referrals based on a risk assessment. Careful consideration should be given where there are identified risks of fire starting or significant violence. The placing social workers will make reference to positive child care practice when determining risk and placement viability;
  • The emergency foster cares will notify Finance at the start and end of all foster placements;
  • Placements will be available for seven nights or eight days;
  • The carers will attend any emergency Child Protection, case planning or youth offender meeting as required. This will include supporting their transition from the emergency bed scheme. A separate bedroom will be available for emergency placements.

In the case of illness the carer will advise the fostering duty worker that they are unavailable to take an emergency placement and payments adjusted accordingly:

  • The carer will provide appropriate care for children/young people in what are usually traumatic circumstances;
  • Emergency bed foster carers are expected to meet all reasonable transport needs for the young people in their care;
  • The emergency carer will carry a mobile phone or pager to ensure that they can be contacted at all times of the night and day;
  • Emergency foster carers will receive normal maintenance payments and the fee element according to the age of the child when a child is in placement;
  • The emergency carer will keep a daily log or diary on the child and provide a brief written or verbal assessment report of the child as requested by the social worker;
  • Emergency bed carers will inform their fostering worker/duty fostering worker as soon as possible of any changes in some circumstances which may impact on their fostering role;
  • In normal circumstances it would be expected that the emergency bed carer will give 28 days notice if they no longer wish to offer this service.

4. The Role of the Fostering Support Team

  • Access to the emergency beds during the day is via the Single Placement Team. After hours it is via the OOHrs duty fostering social worker except after midnight when access will be via the County Out of Hours team;
  • Additional support may be provided to emergency placements via fostering Social Work Assistants;
  • The first priority will be to place the child with general foster carers to avoid placement moves;
  • Fostering social workers will monitor and intervene to ensure that correct payments are received by the carers;
  • Service Managers will be advised about usage of the emergency bed.

Emergency Bed carers will receive regular supervision and continue to access learning and development opportunities as part of the foster carer training pathway, They will continue to comply with the general requirements for foster carers including Annual Reviews and a minimum of one unannounced visit will be undertaken in the year.

5. The Role of the Children and Families Teams

  • Placing social workers will advise the finance section of placement start and end dates and will complete foster payment authorisations as a priority for all children;
  • Every effort will be made to supply the carers will full accurate information on every child using the scheme. This will include consents and placement information. A Placement Planning Meeting should take place within 5 days of the placement;
  • The carers will receive a regular payment of the upper fee element regardless of child placements;
  • A social worker will be allocated to any child placed in the emergency bed within one working day.

Appendix 1: Emergency Foster Placement Scheme Agreement

Appendix 1: Emergency Foster Placement Scheme Agreement