A teenage boy with special needs was forced to live in an old people's home for four months because of a lack of foster carers.
Tor Bank School in east Belfast, where the student attends, said that it was a "completely inappropriate" placement.
The school's vice-principal Claire Breen said, because an emergency placement could not be found for the child, he had to go into a home until a foster family was found.
She said: "That was very difficult for him being put into a care home with elderly people and the provision was not right for that child at that time, but they needed an emergency placement."
Ms Breen said that some staff were so alarmed by the case that they put themselves forward as foster carers.
"It's something our teachers and classroom assistants talk about all the time," she said
Northern Ireland needs around 200 extra foster carers to cope with the growing number of children needing a home.