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 | By Theresa Straford

A Call to Emergency Foster Care

Anne Hobday said she would not have predicted that she would be a foster mom as a single woman in her 40s. But now, three years later, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

It all started when she researched adopting a child. She realized that adoption might not be right for her since she would be a single parent, but she still couldn’t shake the feeling that she wanted to do something to help. Hobday decided to try emergency foster care, which is short-term care for a child or children who have been placed in protective custody.

Hobday explained she was interested in temporary placements because of the greatness of the need. She said there are two scenarios that will put a child in temporary foster care.

“One scenario is that they are brand new to foster care. Maybe they were just taken from their families. They will come to me with nothing, and they will stay with me until [the Department of Social Services] can find them more long-term placement. That could take a couple of days,” she said.

The second scenario would be if the child is between placement.

“Maybe it isn’t working out with their current foster placement for whatever reason,” she said, “so they have to go to temporary placement until their next move.”

Hobday can say no at any time, and “there is flexibility with this.” The emergency placement fits well with her lifestyle since she works from home as a technical writer. However, because her home is her office, she doesn’t take small children.

“I don’t do diapers! But, that isn’t a problem since it is the older children that are usually harder to place,” Hobday said. “There are
more foster parents open to taking in younger children.”

She said emergency foster care is great for people who can’t make a year’s commitment.

“The case workers will even drive the kids to and from school sometimes,” she said. “They do try to make it easy on you and your lifestyle.”

Hobday works with Heartfelt Calling, part of the South Carolina Foster Parent Association, and they work with children all over the state. Hobday, who lives in Charleston, said that she recently fostered a child from Greenville.

It took her four months to get licensed as a foster parent in 2020, when she took in-person classes. Hobday has helped 80 children in the three years she has been involved with the agency. Their ages range between 5 and 12, as requested. She said that their stays with her last anywhere from one night to several weeks, and the longest was seven weeks. The average age, she said, is 11.

Hobday spoke at the Carolina Catholic Professionals Luncheon in October about her experience as a foster mother.

“This experience has made me appreciate single mothers so much more. It has made me realize how selfish I am and how stuck in my ways I am. It has really made me see my own self,” she explained. “So many people have really hard situations. It has opened my eyes to how broken the family network is in our world — just how broken families are as a whole. It’s rewarding to help in some small way.”

Hobday said that she could have up to three kids at a time — sometimes they are siblings. She described three siblings that she fostered in 2022, who were removed from their home in the middle of the night. She said the little girl told her she was so happy to sleep in a clean bed because her mattress at home was always covered in mess.

“Some children are upset to come to me and others are relieved,” Hobday said. “It’s those basic needs — like shelter and security, the neighborhood is safe, there are no drugs and no yelling. All of that is really just basic psychological need. One child told me that he hated for the blinds to be open because of drive-by shootings.”

She explained that the picture of the luggage, at left, represents so much more than just bags packed. That particular child thought he was going to go home to his mom, but was told he couldn’t at the last minute.

“This picture represents hopes lost. He was so excited, and it didn’t work out. We had to make the best of it,” she added.

Sometimes we are called to something or to go somewhere, and then other times, we are called to someone. As we recognize National Adoption Month in March, let’s learn from Hobday and not ignore the calling we may have within us to value our children and encourage their development.

It really does take a village, and it’s up to all of us.

Visit or to learn more about fostering in South Carolina.

Theresa Stratford is a freelance writer for The Miscellany. She lives in Charleston with her husband and three children and attends the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Email her at