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5.11.1 Children Looked After Personal Finances

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter should be used as part of the planning processes for all Children Looked After (CLA) including Disabled Children. It should be read in conjunction with:

Care Planning Guidance

Placement of Children Looked After Procedure

Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation Procedure

Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After Procedure

The Management of Disability Benefits Children Looked After 2016-2017

Claiming Benefits - Children Looked After, Claiming Benefits How do I Apply, Claiming Benefits Identity Documents

AMENDMENT

In August 2016, Section 6, CLA’s Savings was updated.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Child Becomes Looked After
  3. Management of Child’s Personal Finances
  4. Review of Child’s Personal Finances
  5. Child Moves Placement or CLA Episode Ends
  6. CLA’s Savings
  7. Criminal Injuries Compensation and Child Trust Funds
  8. CLA/Care Leavers who are receiving Benefits
  9. Recording
  10. Remands to Youth Detention Accommodation - Pocket Money and Clothing Allowance
  11. Children Looked After Placed in Residential Schools

    Appendix 1: Expenditure Audit Sheet


1. Introduction

All Children Looked After will:

  • Be informed about, and receive the same allowances for pocket money, clothing, festival allowances, birthday allowances, regardless of the type of placement they are in and according to their age;
  • Be informed and supported by his or her social worker or carer in applying for relevant benefits, Criminal Injuries, or other compensations, to which he or she may be entitled;
  • Have a record of what personal finance he or she has received and how this was spent or saved;
  • Be encouraged to save both for items in the interim, and for his or her adulthood, and to become informed about how to save;
  • The role of each parent or person with parental responsibility must be considered as part of the planning process.


2. Child Becomes Looked After

In completing the C&F Assessment the Social Worker will obtain information about any savings or bank accounts s/he may have, and any benefits s/he or his/her carer may be receiving in respect of the child e.g. Child Benefit, disability benefits.

When the child is accommodated, or by the Placement Planning Meeting, the social worker will obtain, (unless good reason that this is not possible), the child’s passport, birth certificate, NHS number and National Insurance number. These are key identity documents, and key details will be scanned in or entered on to the child’s electronic LCS record. The social worker will give the child (not his carer) the leaflet Money Matters with up to date rates for allowances.

The social worker will ensure that the Care Plan and Placement Plan are in place and these will state how much pocket money, clothing and celebratory allowances the child will receive. It should also state where ID documents, and other finance documents will be stored e.g. The Personal History Document Box, and whether they will be held by the young person or his carer. If a bank account is to be opened for a child under 16, the named adult will need to be identified. This may be a foster carer, or a HCC appointee.

If the child is disabled - see The Management of Disability Benefits Children Looked After 2016-2017.


3. Management of Child’s Personal Finances

The foster carer, or residential home or school, will keep records how pocket money is managed and how clothing, expenditure of celebratory allowances, are spent. This information will be passed to the social worker at least four weeks prior to a CLA Review for entry onto the LCS case note Personal Finance. Receipts are required for items over the value of £50.

When a child is in a long term foster placement or Family and Friends foster placement it is expected that the carer will accept the role of Benefit Appointee and sign any application for a bank account.

If a child is in a semi-independent placement it will follow that s/he is able to manage his/her finances. The LCS case note Personal Finance must record how much s/he has been provided with by Children Services.


4. Review of Child’s Personal Finances

The log of how the child’s pocket money, allowances and savings have been managed will be viewed, and placed on the child’s Livelink folder, referenced by and LCS case note Child’s Personal Finance by:

  • The child’s social worker.

Prior to each CLA Review the Independent Reviewing Officer will view the child’s LCS Personal Finance case note, and record that this has been done. Any issues arising may be taken to the CLA Review and used to update the Care Plan.


5. Child Moves Placement or CLA Episode Ends

The foster carer, or residential home or school will provide a completed transition document - (link to follow) to the child’s social worker (for private and voluntary sector this may be via Brokerage). The child’s social worker will enter on LCS Child’s Personal Finance case note and pass to the new carer, (foster carer, prospective adopter, residential home or school, Special Guardian/holder of Residence Order/Child Arrangements Order, or parent or relative with whom the child is to live).

If the child will continue to be looked after, the Placement Plan and Care Plan will agree arrangements for the child’s personal finance in the new placement.

If the child continues to be looked after and is placed with ‘P’ (Parent or person with parental responsibility prior to making of a Care Order), the Placement Plan will set out the day to day arrangements for the transfer of monies and any allowances.


6. CLA’s Savings

Long Term Savings See 5.11.2 Child Trust Funds and Junior ISAs for full details and explanations.

When a child has been looked after for one year The Share Foundation opens a Junior ISA with £200. The HCC Local Authority Officer is Patricia Gibbons, Brokerage.

Anyone can add money to the Junior ISA via the HCC Local Authority Officer (if considered to be congruent with child’s welfare) but money cannot be withdrawn until the child is 18 years old. A 16 - 17 year old can become involved in managing the Junior ISA if s/he wishes to.

Short to Medium Term Savings. Each child should have a bank account which s/he is encouraged to use. The carer will support the child to manage pocket money, clothing, birthday and festivity monies via this account. It should not be an account which automatically provides a credit card at age 18 years.

HCC manage CLA savings centrally in Brokerage Support. Where a junior ISA has been opened, these savings will be transferred on a monthly basis to the ISA. Where no junior ISA is in place, the savings will be held by HCC in an interest-bearing account until such times as an ISA is opened or the chid/young person leaves care.


7. Criminal Injuries Compensation and Discretionary Trust Funds

This section is under review.


8. CLA/Care Leavers who are receiving Benefits

This includes those who are ‘Staying Put’, Disabled Children aged 16 - 18 and Lone Parents under 18. The Foster Carers will continue to receive fees but the Supervising Social Worker will arrange for maintenance, pocket money, clothing and celebratory allowances to cease. The SSW will enter this on the LCS Personal Finance case note and the Placement Plan will be reviewed and updated.


9. Recording

Each child has a Personal Finance case note Tab. Entries will be made by the child’s social work team, the fostering service or the residential care service, Brokerage, Independent Review Team, as appropriate.

The Child’s Personal Finance case note will record:

  • All decisions about what benefits are claimed, and received or refused;
  • Details of all bank accounts in the child’s name, or in an adult’s name on behalf of the child;
  • All documents stored on Livelink that account for carers’ expenditure on child, including statements;
  • All scrutiny of the accounts and by whom and when.


10. Remands to Youth Detention Accommodation - Pocket Money and Clothing Allowance

Young people who are remanded to Youth Detention Accommodation are, since the introduction of the legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, considered to be Children Looked After (CLA). See Remands to Local Authority Accommodation or to Youth Detention Accommodation.

The basis of their CLA status is that they to have the same level of service as other CLA children and young people and are to receive the same service level. The implications of this are for example, that they may qualify for Leaving Care Services. It also means that they should have access to weekly pocket money and a clothing allowance.

As well as the considerations of being CLA there are also issues to consider in relation to the fact that they have been charged with offences which are of a serious level and potentially carry a high risk of harm to others. There are two basic principles CS will work to here:

  • That avoidance of practice that could reasonably be seen as a ‘treat’. Provision should be based on need;
  • That no young person who is remanded to YDA will as a result of that remand status be better off that other CLA young people.

In order to ensure that young people remanded to YDA receive the same support as other CLA young people, but do not get more than other CLA young people, the following is the basis for the provision of pocket money and clothing allowance.

Pocket Money

  • The secure estate facilities each have their own in house ‘pocket money’ provision and the means to spend it. It depends on the type of institution as to what this is. Hertfordshire will top the basic allowance from the institution up to the same level as the CLA pocket money allowance. Should the young person fail to get the full amount from the institution due to a failure to follow the rules, this shortfall will not be made up as to do so would be to undermine the institution and the authority of its staff;
  • At the Remand Planning meeting the amount required will be agreed and how the money will be paid to the Unit will be agreed.

Clothing Allowance

  • Clothing allowance will be available to a young person on the basis of need and requested through the personal officer/case officer in the institution;
  • This will be agreed at the Remand Planning meeting;
  • It will be agreed what clothes are being purchased;
  • The clothes will be bought by the social worker and the receipts sent to the Brokerage Support Team;
  • Money will not be given to parents.

Please note that any other money or clothing provided by parents, carers or other family members is outside the scope of the department, is at the discretion of the Unit and is a private arrangement between the family and the Unit.

Actions required of Social Worker/Youth Justice Case Manager

In most remand cases where a child is not already CLA the Youth Justice Case Manager and the CLA Social Worker will be the same person.

  • Check that the parents/carers know where the young person is placed and that they know the contact details to get clothes and additional money to the Unit in line with the Unit’s policies;
  • Check who the personal officer or case officer is;
  • Check with the personal officer/case officer what the unit’s procedure for receiving and banking CLA pocket money;
  • Check what process is in place for passing on new clothes and how a young person can try an item on in case it needs changing to a different size.

Please be aware that most remands will be less that two weeks and are unlikely to get to the stage where these arrangements become an issue.


11. Children Looked After Placed in Residential Schools

Most of these children will be placed in residential special schools. These establishments often don’t have a financial allowances policy as many of the children and young people staying there will not be looked after. This only applies to placements of children looked after.

It ensures equity of provision for all children looked after and care leavers and ensures personal finances are specified, recorded and thus managed accountably. The social worker will ensure that all entitlement to benefit is maximised e.g. Mobility Allowance, Disability Living Allowance.

This will be read in conjunction with this chapter and The Management of Disability Benefits Children Looked After 2016-2017 when on SWPM, a forthcoming chapter re Capacity which is under review, and Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After.

When a child or young person becomes looked after at the point of placement in a residential school, the initial Placement Plan should set out all of the arrangements for the financial support provided to the child or young person.

Where a child is looked after prior to being placed in a residential school, the statutory review undertaken at the point of the move should also review the Placement Plan and set out all of arrangements for the financial support provided to the child or young person.

The majority of children/young people placed in residential schools are likely to have an Education, Health and Care Plan and therefore children and young people may require substantial assistance to manage their allowances. As children and young people mature and get older an increasing amount of responsibility should be transferred to the child/young person depending on an assessment of their ability. The transfer of responsibility to young people for managing their allowances should be aligned with goals in their pathway plan and enabling the development of money management and independent living skills.

Young people reaching the age of 16 should be subject to a ‘Capacity’ assessment which will inform the level of responsibility they take for their own allowances (and Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payment).

The allowances set out in this policy are predominantly provided to meet the personal needs of the child/young person. Items and activities related to the child/young person’s education/training needs should be covered in the funding for the placement.

The Independent Placement Contract will set out the arrangements between the school and Hertfordshire County Council in regard to how the residential school staff will manage the allowances provided for the child/young person. The following points should be addressed in the Independent Placement Contract:

  • The account details where the payments are to be transferred;
  • Who in the school is responsible for managing and administering the child/young person’s allowances;
  • The provision of a named contact who will be the person who acts as a primary contact in regard to any financial issues for the child/young person’s social worker and the Brokerage Team;
  • The audit process for recording and ensuring all allowances are provided in line with the residential school allowances policy;
  • The audit process for ensuing all allowances are provided to the individual child/young person as set out in their placement plan;
  • How any savings are recorded and where they are held, or added to the Junior ISA account (where a child/young person has been looked after for more than 52 weeks). And consult with Brokerage Support Team;
  • How the school will manage any Disability Living Allowance payments and if the school is acting as a benefit appointee.

Allowances for Children and Young People Looked After

CS0373F1 Children and Young People Looked After (CLA) Allowances 2014 - 2015

Income Tax

Children are liable for income tax in the same way as adults. However, income tax is not payable unless the young person's total taxable income per annum exceeds the tax-free Personal Allowance.

For more information see the HMRC website.


Appendix 1: Expenditure Audit Sheet

Click here to view Appendix 1: Expenditure Audit Sheet.

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