In some cases, a child will be left with no family to care for him or the child's immediate removal from his current home is necessitated by extreme circumstances. Emergency foster families are specialists at taking children at almost no notice. Often the children will be traumatized by the incident which has made them at least temporarily parentless and will need intensive help.
Emergency foster care was created to provide for the immediate needs of the child. This means the emergency foster parents would provide shelter, food, clothing, and other immediate necessities. While having a stable home in which to live is important, that is not the purpose of emergency foster care. Stability will have to come later, in a more permanent placement situation. However, emergency foster care can turn more permanent if an adequate home isn't found and the child needs stability and security in their current placement.
Emergency foster homes are also used as a temporary safe place for a child whose home situation has erupted. This may be as simple as a parent having to fulfill certain court-appointed tasks or to wait until an abusive relative is out of the home. When this is the case, the child will stay for a few days to a few weeks. Once the courts determine the safety of the home, the child can then rejoin their family.
Foster homes that have been accepted and authorized to be emergency foster homes will have bedrooms already prepared, food available, and will have the appropriate clothing for that age of child. They may have to run out to the store to get some things right before, but they'll be prepared. That is what they were designed to do, and they do a great service to any community.