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5.11.7 Transfer of Savings and Finances to Children Looked After and Care Leavers – Process Note

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This guidance sets out the process to follow when transferring savings and financial allowances to children ceasing to be looked after (at any age) or young people leaving care at the age of 18.

This chapter was added to the manual in August 2016.


Contents

  1. Background and Context
  2. Monitoring of Finances
  3. Transfer of Savings – Children Ceasing to be Looked After before the age of 18
  4. Transfer Process
  5. Transfer of Savings – Children Leaving Care at age 18
  6. Impact of Significant Accrued Monies on Benefits Claims
  7. ‘Capacity’ Issues


1. Background and Context

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.

Savings are made by the local authority on behalf of children looked after (£2.50 per week age 0 to 10 or £5.00 per week age 11 to 18 - 2016/17 rates). For the first 52 weeks that a child is looked after, the funds are held by the Brokerage Service within an individual (WBS) account. After 52 weeks of a child/young person being looked after, accumulated and weekly savings are transferred to the Junior Individual Savings Account (Junior ISA) set up by The Share Foundation, where this is in place.


2. Monitoring of Finances

Children and young people’s finances are managed by the Brokerage Support (West) team. An individual (WBS) account is used to record savings transactions plus any accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA. 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. Once the Junior ISA is established at the 52 week point, the savings will be transferred on a regular basis into the Junior ISA.

By the end of May each year, a case note will be added to LCS by Brokerage showing the annual balance(s) of their savings, accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA (if applicable) and CICA monies/trust funds as at the end of the financial year. The social worker will be able to view the LCS case note in the normal way. The social worker should provide the child/young person with a yearly balance of all savings/monies held.


3. Transfer of Savings – Children Ceasing to be Looked After before the age of 18

  1. The social worker should contact Brokerage Support (West) team to establish if any savings and accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA are held within a WBS account and arrange for them to be transferred to the responsible adult (Parent/Special Guardian/Adopter/Child Arrangements Orders) at the earliest opportunity after the child ceases to looked after;
  2. The management of monies held in a Junior ISA will be transferred to the responsible adult (parent/special guardian/adopter/child arrangement order) at the earliest opportunity after the child ceases to be looked after. The Share Foundation and Brokerage will arrange for instructions to be sent to the responsible adult. The funds held in the Junior ISA can only be accessed by the young person and cannot be accessed prior to their 18th birthday;
  3. Monies held by a placement provider: The child/young person’s social worker should also check with the placement provider to ascertain if the foster carer or residential unit has accrued any additional funds. For these monies, the provider should send a cheque (made payable to ‘Hertfordshire County Council’) to the Brokerage Support (West) team. Arrangements will then be made for the monies to be transferred to the responsible adult as agreed with the social worker;
  4. The balance of the transfer(s) should be recorded on the child/young person’s LCS file and should also be given to the responsible adult by the social worker.


4. Transfer Process

The Brokerage Support Manager is the nominated Hertfordshire contact with ‘The Share Foundation’. The child/young person’s social worker should contact the Brokerage Support (West) team (via email: dutybrokeragesupport@hertfordshire.gov.uk) regarding the transfer of any WBS or Junior ISA savings/allowances or to inform them that a child/young person has, or is ceasing to be looked after.

Brokerage will inform The Share Foundation that the child/young person has ceased to be looked after via their monthly data submission. It is therefore critical that the child/young person’s CLA end date is added at the earliest opportunity. Where a child looked after is placed with a parent under Section 31, the Junior ISA remains with the local authority. (See also Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After Procedure).

For children and young people eligible for Child Trust Funds (CTFs), the person with parental responsibility should contact ‘The Official Solicitor’ in order to take over management of the account. Proof of parental responsibility will be required (e.g. adoption certificate). Once a letter has been received from ‘The Official Solicitor’ confirming the changed responsibility for the account, this can be used to inform the CTF provider. Approximately 2 months before a child/young person turns 16, ‘The Official Solicitor’ will write to the child/young person informing them that they may become the registered contact and how to complete the process. (See also Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After Procedure).


5. Transfer of Savings – Children Leaving Care at age 18

Planning for the transfer of savings and any accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA (if applicable) should commence once a young person reaches the age of 17. The social worker should review the level of savings and check with the placement provider to ascertain if the foster carer or residential unit has any savings/allowances that have been accrued for the young person. Any significant amounts to be treated as long-term savings can be added to the Junior ISA. To achieve this, the provider should send a cheque (made payable to ‘Hertfordshire County Council’) to the Brokerage Support (West) team. Arrangements will then be made for the monies to be transferred.

Once the young person reaches the age of 17½, the pathway plan should be used to set out the level of the savings and how the young person will manage these once they reach the age of 18 and the funds are transferred to them. Social workers and personal advisers should explore how the young person wishes to use their savings and/or how they would continue to add to their savings. For example, some young people may wish to use some of their savings to supplement their Setting-Up Home Allowance in order to buy additional items or more expensive items. Others may wish to supplement their Introduction to Driving package in order to complete an extended course of driving lessons. In the manner of a ‘good parent’ young people should be encouraged to use their savings in a positive manner.

Unless a young person lacks ‘Capacity’, any savings and accrued DLA/PIP/E&SA (if applicable) should be transferred to the young person on reaching the age of 18. Where it is considered that a young person may be unwise in the use of their savings, support and encouragement should be provided to help them use the savings positively and wisely.

If a young person identifies a family member or foster carer/staying put carer to look after, or continue to look after the savings on their behalf; the risks associated with this process should be fully explored, i.e. who’s name will the savings be held in, could this create tensions within any relationship, what are the impact on any benefits of either party.

Brokerage will inform The Share Foundation that the young person has reached the age of 18 via the monthly data submission. The Share Foundation and Brokerage will make arrangements for the funds to transfer to the young person. (See also Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After Procedure).

Child Trust Funds for Children Looked After are managed by The Official Solicitor. The Official Solicitor will write to the child/young person approximately 2 months before their 16th birthday telling them how to become the registered contact for the account. They will be able to withdraw the funds after their 18th birthday. (See also Child Trust Funds and Junior Individual Savings Accounts for Children Looked After Procedure).

A balance of the transfer should be placed on the child/young person’s LCS file by the social worker.

For information on Criminal Injuries Compensation Awards (CICA) and establishing Discretionary Trust Funds see CICA Guidance and Trust Panel Arrangements Guidance.


6. Impact of Significant Accrued Monies on Benefits Claims

It should be noted that if the young person has savings of £6000.00 or above, and they subsequently claim a means tested benefit, the amount of benefit they receive will be reduced. For every £250.00 of savings/capital that a person has above £6000.00, they will have a £1.00 per week reduction in their benefit. This is termed tariff income. Where a person has savings/capital above £16,000.00 they will not be eligible to claim a means tested benefit. (See Benefits policy for more detail).

Young people must be made aware that if they spend their savings/capital in order to be eligible to claim a benefit, they may be deemed to have ‘disposed of their capital’ in order to claim a benefit. If this is the case the young person may be subject to a benefit sanction. Where young people have savings above £6000.00, careful planning is required regarding the use of the savings.

Consideration should be given in regard to whether the young person has any other monies, Criminal Injuries Compensation Awards or trust funds and the impact of any combined monies.


7. ‘Capacity’ Issues

In order to establish if a young person has ‘capacity’, a formal capacity assessment should be carried out. (See The Management of Disability Benefits Children Looked After 2016-2017 policy). Where a young person lacks ‘Capacity’ the savings should be managed by the young person’s ‘Benefit Appointee’, Corporate Appointee’ and/or ‘Deputy’ in conjunction with their social worker and independent advocate.

Please see:

  • CICA Policy (also managed via WBS if HCC hold the award);
  • Trust Panel Arrangements Guidance;
  • Junior ISA Policy;
  • Child Trust Fund Policy;
  • Capacity & Financial Arrangements.

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