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5.11.6 Managing and Monitoring of Children Looked After Finances – Process Note

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This guidance sets out the processes and arrangements in managing and monitoring the finances of children who become Looked After.

This chapter was added to the manual in August 2016.


Contents

  1. Children/Young People Becoming Looked After
  2. Savings
  3. Disability Benefits
  4. Capacity Assessments
  5. Monitoring of Finances
  6. Ceasing to be Looked After
  7. Leaving Care


1. Children/Young People Becoming Looked After

As part of the process of becoming Looked After, an audit will be undertaken by the child/young person’s social worker of any savings/trust funds/bank accounts etc. that the child/young person has. The amount of any funds and account/trust details will be recorded on the child/young person’s LCS case file.

On becoming looked after all children/young people will be allocated a personal Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) code which will be set up and administered by Hertfordshire County Council - Brokerage Service. The WBS code will be used to manage any short term savings or disability/welfare benefits etc.

Depending on the circumstances of the child/young person, consideration will be given to making a Criminal Injuries Compensation Award (CICA) application. Where a child/young person has a CICA, trust fund, legacy or funds/savings over £6,000.00 a specific professionals meeting will be set up (by the social worker) to consider the administration of the trust and/or the child/young person’s finances. CICA money is paid out using the ‘Withdrawal from General Fund’ form – available from Brokerage West
(BrokerageFinance.West@Hertfordshire.gov.uk).

The amount to be paid will dictate who can sign the ‘Withdrawal from General Fund’ form; under £5,000.00 Team/Group Manager, and above £5,000.00 Head of Service.


2. Savings

Once a child/young person has been looked after for more than 28 days, they will be allocated a weekly savings amount dependent on their age. Savings are only allocated after 28 days to ensure there are no incentives for a child/young person to remain looked after, where the plan is for the child/young person to return to a parent/person with parental responsibility. Where the plan is for the child/young person to be looked after longer term, savings will be back dated to the point they become looked after.

Long Term Savings

Children aged 0 to 10 are provided with a £2.50 per week savings allowance and children/young people aged 11-17 are provided with a £5.00 per week savings allowance. The savings will be accrued in their WBS account for the first 52 weeks after the child/young person become looked after. When the child/young person has been looked after for 52 weeks, the accrued savings will be transferred to their Junior ISA. The savings allowance continues to be accrued and transferred to the Junior ISA monthly until they cease to be looked after/leave care.

Regular Long-Term Savings

Each child (aged 0 to 18) who has been looked after for a minimum of 52 weeks will be allocated a Junior Individual Savings Account (Junior ISA). This will be set up with an initial £200.00 deposit and be managed by The Share Foundation (TSF), a registered charity authorised by the Government to set up and manage the Junior ISAs for all looked after children. These monies will not be accessible until the child reaches the age of 18.


3. Disability Benefits

A disabled child may be entitled to one or more of the following benefits:

  • DLA - Disability Living Allowance (Care and/or Mobility);
  • PIP – Personal Independence Payment (Care and/or Mobility);
  • E&SA - Employment & Support Allowance;
  • Disability Benefit Premiums.

Where a child looked after is in a foster placement and is receipt of any disability benefits, it is expected that the foster carer will act as ‘Benefit Appointee’. The ‘Disability Benefits - Expenditure Monitoring and Audit Sheet’ should be completed by the foster carer and evidence retained of the use of the benefits. Every three months the details should be checked by the keyworker/supervising social worker/social worker and authorised on the ‘Disability Benefits - Expenditure Monitoring and Audit Sheet’.

In principle all DLA/PIP should be used to meet any disability needs of the child/young person and all E&SA (16 & 17 year olds) should be used to meet any additional and day to day needs; once E&SA is in payment, pocket money and clothing allowances cease. How the DLA/PIP/E&SA is to be used should be set out in the child/young person’s placement plan and must be agreed by the social worker with the carer/keyworker.

Where a child looked after aged 0 to 16 is in receipt of benefits and does not have a foster carer who is acting as their Benefit Appointee, the benefits will be managed via the child’s WBS account (HCC acting as a ‘Corporate Appointee’). Requests to access WBS funds should be made using the ‘Withdrawal from General Fund’ form – available from Brokerage West (BrokerageFinance.West@Hertfordshire.gov.uk).

The amount to be paid will dictate who can sign the ‘Withdrawal from General Fund’ form; under £5,000.00 Team/Group Manager, and above £5,000.00 Head of Service.


4. Capacity Assessments

Where it is thought that a child of 15 will lack ‘Capacity’ on reaching the age of 16; a ‘Capacity’ assessment should be undertaken immediately prior to a child’s 16th birthday. Where the child/young person lacks ‘Capacity’ the person acting as the ‘Benefit Appointee’ prior to the 16th birthday can continue in that role and/or the disabilities benefits will be managed via the WBS code (HCC acting as a ‘Corporate Appointee’).


5. Monitoring of Finances

The WBS account for each child/young person will record all long-term savings activity and accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA and can be audited to evidence all transactions if required.

Children/young people will be informed of the level of their savings, accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA (if applicable) and CICA monies at the end of each financial year. To access this, the social worker will view the case note which will be added to LCS via the Brokerage Workspace at the end of May each year stating the balance(s) held.


6. Ceasing to be Looked After

Where a child ceases to be looked after before the age of 18, the responsibility for managing the savings will transfer to the responsible adult (Parent/Special Guardian/Adopter/Child Arrangements Orders). A balance of the transfer should be placed on the child/young person’s LCS file and also be given to the responsible adult.


7. Leaving Care

At the first statutory review after the young person’s 17th birthday a balance of the young person’s Junior ISA savings and WBS account should be obtained by the social worker from the Brokerage Service (West) (BrokerageFinance.West@Hertfordshire.gov.uk). The care and pathway planning process should set out how the monies will be transferred to the young person on, or immediately after their 18th birthday. Young people should be supported to manage their savings at the age 18 and must be given information about the impact of their savings on any means tested benefit or education allowance entitlements.

Where young people have their DLA/PIP/E&SA managed through a WBS account, the transition planning to an adult service should set out who will become the ‘Benefit Appointee’ / ‘Corporate Appointee’ for the young person when their case transfers to an adult service.

Please See:

  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Awards Policy (also managed via WBS if HCC manage it);
  • Trust Panel Arrangements Guidance;
  • Junior ISA Policy;
  • Child Trust Funds Policy;
  • HCC Payment of Fees & Allowances to Foster Carers;
  • Transfer of Savings and Finances to Children Looked After and Care Leavers – Process Note;
  • Capacity Guidance.

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