"Hi, wondering, would you consider taking a child who needs a placement immediately?"
"Well, she's aged ten and at the moment she's at the police station, she can't go home because her mother can't cope any more. She was found wandering the streets at four o'clock this morning."
"No the mother. The child was at home looking after her younger sisters and brothers."
"Boyfriend. She was looking after him too, he is disabled and has learning difficulties. And a drugs scene."
"We're waiting for the paperwork from the local authority Social Worker, but they've told us she hasn't been in trouble with the police, although the family is known to Social Services, and she had problems at school. She is underweight for her age, but quite tall. She looks much older than ten."
"She's a big fan of One Direction."
"Tattoo of Harry on her shoulder. Obviously we don't know if she needs your home for one night, a few weeks or..."
"I know. Or the rest of our lives. Okay, the answer's yes. Put her in a car. What's she bringing?"
"That's wonderful, thank you. I think the plan is to go via her home and pack a bag but I get the impression she only has what she's standing in. I'll bring your Social Worker up to speed. We can work out a Safe Care plan when we know if there's been any abuse. There's certainly neglect. The police gave her eggs and bacon and she ate it with her fingers."
"I've got standby nightclothes no problem, I'll make up the bed and call my partner. Oh, what's her name?"
"Er...hang on, I wrote it down...somewhere. There's the other phone going..can I call you back?"
THE SECRET FOSTER CARER
PS the above is a compendium of factual circumstances that have happened either in our experience or with other Foster Carers and children I've known, but is not any one particular child.