What is “Crash Bed” fostering?
Our Local Authority partners often find an emergency placement is needed that night, but that can be a big challenge for them, matching with a foster carer at such short notice. Emergency placements can be needed for a variety of reasons e.g. the sudden death or illness of parents and/or guardians or a home situation that requires that a child be moved to a safe place urgently.
“Crash Bed” fostering is a specialist type of fostering designed to assist the Local Authority to find, at very short notice, short term places to stay for young people and give them some time to assess the young person’s needs and search for a longer-term home for them.
How is it different to emergency fostering?
With “Crash Bed” fostering, there is a short and finite period that you will care for the child, no more than two weeks. The same principles apply, that you will keep the child safe and afford them the same opportunities that any child deserves, but many of the responsibilities that come with general fostering; facilitating contact with birth parents, organising schooling, medical appointments, attending reviews and meetings around the child, etc, are generally not required. This is because you are providing a very short stay whilst the Local Authority can assess the child’s needs and search for a longer-term, well-matched placement.
Emergency fostering is not time limited, it could last for two nights, or could last into weeks or months and there is a more thorough matching process to ensure a good fit with our fostering families.
How are children matched with “Crash Bed” foster carers?
Of course, there is a broad matching criteria, and every carer will get the chance to discuss and agree the type of placement they would or wouldn’t accept. For instance, a single female might say, “I’d really prefer only girls” and that would then be agreed within your acceptance criteria. However, once you are approved, you would offer a temporary safe place to stay at very short notice to any child that fit within your agreed acceptance criteria.
You will be expected to accept a broad range of ages, i.e., 0 or 5 to 18 (5 if you are a smoker), because of the variety of placements needed; your acceptance criteria needs to be broad, if it was too narrow, then we may find there are very few placements that fit.
What if I want to go on holiday and I’m not available to accept a placement?
With this type of fostering, you are free to take any time off that you need. We do ask that at the beginning of each month, you let us know what your availability will be for that month, and for the period of your stated availability, you will be expected to accept placements.
Is the fostering allowance different for “Crash Bed” foster carers?
Yes, because you are offering a home to a child or young person that you haven’t had a chance to meet and will know little about, so the allowances paid reflect that. During your “available” period, you will receive a flat retainer payment equivalent to £450 per week, calculated on a nightly basis, and when a placement is made, you will receive the full allowance of £900 per week, per child.
Is the initial assessment process different to normal fostering?
No, this is one aspect that does not change. Every foster carer must go through the same assessment process, regardless of the type of fostering they do.
Will I receive training?
Yes, you will receive the same basic training that every foster carer receives, but from then on, you will receive training that is more targeted to “Crash Bed” fostering. You will be expected to attend several face-to-face training sessions per year as well as several online courses.
Can anyone be a “Crash Bed” foster carer?
Yes, they can, subject to the normal fostering regulations, however, this type of foster care would be more suited to couples and individuals that don’t have young children living with them. It would also suit experienced foster carers that are looking for a more flexible fostering role. This is because of the very limited matching processes involved and safeguarding is at the forefront of everything we do. Our “Crash Bed” carers report lovely children coming to stay with them, but because of the limited information and emergency nature of the placements, we prefer to err of the side of caution.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a “Crash Bed” carer, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 01440 732010 or email us at [email protected].