Fostering is incredibly rewarding. It is the opportunity to open your home, share your life and be there for a child and young person at a time when they need it the most.

Children playing in leaves

What is fostering

Children from across Doncaster come into foster care for many different reasons. It may be because of a family illness, a family breakdown or they may just need a safe place to stay. Some young people come into care as unaccompanied asylum seekers and so have no family or anyone they know in the UK. Children may have experienced neglect or trauma. Every child in our care is unique and so is their story, but they all need the safety, security and reassurance of somewhere to call home, be it for a few weeks or years.   

Working alongside our team of experienced social workers and other professionals, foster carers support the child’s social and emotional development. As well as caring for their daily health, well-being and educational needs, foster carers help children to keep in touch with their friends and birth family.

Throughout your fostering journey, you will receive ongoing professional support and training. You will have your own social worker who will regularly call you for a chat to see how things are going and come to visit you in your at home. You will also meet with other professionals to talk about how you are caring for the child in your care, any problems they may be having and plans for their future.

When you foster for Doncaster you will also be a part of Doncaster’s biggest fostering community, made up of experienced foster carers. You can enjoy many events as a fostering family throughout the year, including a weekly youth club and access to our regular support groups, giving you the chance to get to know other carers and share experiences.

Our foster carers welcome children into their homes and their families, giving them the full experience of everyday family life, which helps become the building blocks for children to develop their skills for the future and develop healthy relationships so they can grow and realise their potential.

Types of fostering

There are many ways you can foster be it full-time or part-time; giving you the option to choose what is right for you and your circumstances. All of them come with different challenges and rewards. We will help you during the enquiry and assessment process to make the decision that is right for you. 

Whatever type of fostering you choose to do you will be making a difference to the lives of children and young people from Doncaster:

  • Emergency care
    As an emergency foster carer, you will be there for a child who urgently needs to be cared for away from their home for a short time. Placements usually last for just a few nights, but due to the nature of the placement, you will not always get much notice.
  • Short-term care
    You will care for a child or a young person for a few weeks or months while plans are made for their future.
  • Respite care
    The placements can last from a night to a few weeks, and they can either be planned or at short notice. The child is placed with a foster family allowing birth parents or other foster carers the time to recharge their batteries so that they can continue to provide care to the child.
  • Long-term fostering
    Some children are not able to return to their birth parents or wider family. When this is the case, we will work to try to find the child a place they can call home for the rest of their childhood, giving them the stability they need to grow up and thrive. It is a big commitment to foster a child long-term, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. 

Once you have been fostering with us for a while, you may feel you are able to support some of our more vulnerable children and young people. Specialist types of fostering will require you to develop different levels of skills and expertise through training.

Friends and Family Fostering

Private fostering

Private fostering is when a child under 16 (or under 18 if they are disabled) is living for 28 days or more with someone who is not a close relative,

This might be a family friend, a great aunt, a cousin or someone else known to the child. There are many reasons why a private fostering arrangement may be put in place, it could be that the parents are working long hours, the child is sent to the UK for education by their parents outside the UK or many other reasons. 

We will provide support, information and advice to parents, carers and children and young people, including:

  • Visiting the child or young person to ensure they have settled in well with their carer.
  • Offering peace of mind by carrying out statutory checks to make sure the child or young person is living in a safe and appropriate environment.
  • Providing private foster carers with support, guidance and practical advice including details of benefits and financial support, which may be available to them.
  • Advising parent’s on their rights and legal duties concerning the child or young person’s upbringing and wellbeing.
  • Helping to facilitate and build relationships between parents, carers and children and young people if necessary.

To keep children and young people safe, by law parents and carers must let us know if they have a private fostering arrangement.

Do not worry if you have been providing private foster care, or your child has been living with a private foster carer, and you were not aware you needed to tell us. It is not too late to tell us and you will not be in trouble for not doing so already.

How to contact us

You can get in touch with our supportive and friendly team using the following contact details:

Tel: 01302 737789 Email:

Useful downloads

Private Fostering in Doncaster - A guide for professionals
Download (224KB - PDF)
Private Fostering in Doncaster - A guide for children and young people
Download (241KB - PDF)
Private Fostering in Doncaster - Advice for parents and carers
Download (246KB - PDF)

Kinship Care

Kinship care is when a child lives full-time or most of the time with a relative who isn’t their parent, such as a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or an older sibling.  

To make sure you are getting the right support, please let us know about your circumstances.

Getting support

You can find out more by getting in touch with our Kinship team by calling 01302 737 789 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm or emailing

Special Guardianships (SGO)

A special guardianship is usually someone with a close relationship with the child, such as a family member, former foster carer or family friend who has been legally appointed by the court to care for the child following a special guardianship order (called an SGO for short).

Why apply for a Special Guardianship Order?

Unlike adoption, a Special Guardianship Order will not remove parental responsibility from the child’s birth parent. The special guardian will have the responsibility of day-to-day decisions about the child, but they will need to consult with the birth parents at times were key decisions are being made such as changing their name, moving overseas or agreeing on adoption.

Who can apply for an SGO? 

Special guardians are normally a child’s relative, often this may be a grandparent, but it can also be other family members or the child’s current foster carer. 

You do not have to be related to the child to apply for a Special Guardianship Order and it will depend on your own situation. In some cases, you may need to apply to the family court for permission to apply for an SGO. You will need to care for the child or young person for a year before applying.

Apply for an SGO?

You will need to make an application to the court for a Special Guardianship Order. The court will tell the social worker to begin the process of your assessment as a prospective special guardian.

As part of this process, references will be needed from people you know, both personally and professionally. You will also need a Disclosure and Baring Service check (known as a DBS for short), along with anyone else in your household who is aged over 18 years.

Financial support  

If you are caring for a child who would otherwise have come into the local authority care, you may be entitled to financial support. A means-tested financial assessment will be undertaken to confirm the level of payments you may receive.

You will also be entitled to apply for child benefits and child tax credits when the child is living with you under an SGO. 

What support may look like? 

In addition to financial assessment, there will be an assessment of need undertaken and an SGO support plan created.

Support could include:

  • Family support visits
  • Tailored carer support – including the opportunities to complete courses
  • Advice on new or existing contact arrangements
  • Access to support groups
  • Therapy services
  • Help and advice if you are worried about home or education settings
  • Access to all SGO activities and events

Getting support

You can find out more by getting in touch with the SGO team by calling 01302 735 551 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm or emailing

Introduction Image

Start your fostering journey today...

Take the first steps towards fostering by registering your interest:

Register your interest

Call our fostering team on 01302 737 789 or email We are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. 

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