Pocket money

Guiding principles underpinning pocket money and savings for children and young people

Children in care in Brighton and Hove are entitled to pocket money according to the following guidelines. .

There needs to be a considerable degree of flexibility and lack of rigidity whilst maintaining a sense of fairness and consistency, both between foster chioldren and between foster children and the carers' birth and adopted children.

The following principles should guide the payment of pocket money to looked after children and young people:

  • Having pocket money is good for the child/young person. It gives a sense of independence and a measure of choice in making decisions about how the money is spent
  • Receiving pocket money helps children understand the value of money and is the start of developing budgeting skills
  • The amount to be paid must be clarified at the outset of a placement and addressed within the Placement Plan at the Placement Planning Meeting.
  • The rate of pocket money paid should be kept under review by all concerned. Setting the appropriate level is dependent on close communication between the carer, child/young person and their social worker and your supervising social worker. Disputes over pocket money should be dealt with by informal discussion within the foster home in the first instance. If a child/young person is not happy with amount paid, it should be clear how they can raise their dissatisfaction.
  • Setting fixed amounts of pocket money is problematic and consideration must be given to individual circumstances of children in care and foster families. The amounts suggested below are minimum sums.
  • In principle children in care and the foster carer’s birth children of the same age should get the same weekly pocket money and it would be unfair if foster children received either more or less than the foster carer’s own children
  • An increase pocket money by a fixed amount at each birthday. It is also suggested that pocket money is given out on a regular day each week.
  • In many families an understanding may be reached that once a child is old enough to help out with basic household chores, top-ups to pocket money can be arranged in exchange for jobs done. In some foster placements this could be appropriate, especially in long term placements where such an understanding and trust could be built up over time. In shorter term placements this may be less easy to achieve or inappropriate.
  • Achieving the right level of pocket money/monthly allowance is dependent on carers knowing the child/young person well and having a trusting relationship, with the child/young person developing a good understanding of the foster family’s culture regarding use of money
  • As a child gets older s/he may want more expensive extras which can be reflected in pocket money or be paid for by the carer out of the basic allowance received .For a teenager a monthly allowance to cover pocket money, clothing and other larger personal items should be considered (depending on their maturity and situation) and discussed with them
  • When children reach 10 years of age consideration could be given to provide them with a mobile phone depending on individual circumstances. However the start of secondary school maybe a more appropriate time. A child’s safety should be considered in decisions about providing a mobile phone. However it is clear that once a mobile is provided there is little or no control over the way it is used.
  • In principle children should pay for their mobile phone calls and texts as there should be no need for long conversations (although this will be dependent on individual circumstances).
  • To promote a child/young person’s positive contact with their birth family top-ups to their pocket money will need to be made to enable birthday and Christmas presents to be bought for birth and foster family members
  • When a young person becomes a teenager a monthly allowance to cover pocket money, clothing and other larger personal items should be considered (depending on their maturity and situation) and discussed with them
  • The rate of pocket money paid to young people should be realistic. It is the responsibility of carers and social workers to help ensure the smooth transition to independent living after foster care. It would be unhelpful to this process if a young person’s pocket money enabled her/him to enter in to a lifestyle which was not possible if s/he later had to live independently.
  • Pocket money could be withheld as a last resort but it should be saved or carried over until the next week.

Suggested Minimum Pocket Money Amounts

Pocket money should not be paid to children under 5 years old. The significant change involved in a child moving to secondary school is reflected in pocket money paid. The following guidelines should normally be followed:

Age

Weekly minimum amount

Comments

5 years £1.00

from 5 to 16 ‘extras’ can be paid for birthday & Xmas presents for family members and chores within the home


could be topped up by a monthly allowance if appropriate

6 £1.50
7 £2.00
8 £2.50
9 £3.00
10 £3.50
11 £5.00
12 £6.00
13 £7.00
14 £8.00
15 £9.00
16 £10.00

Personal allowances for a child/young person placed

Fostering Network recommend that within the basic weekly allowance there is a ‘personal allowances’ element. This is intended to cover both pocket money and other personal expenses for children and young people which could cover such items as cosmetics, deodorants, sanitary protection, shaving equipment, dry cleaning, landline and mobile telephone calls and comics. It is important, particularly with older children, to be clear from the start about who pays for what! Some households will continue to supply many items as part of the weekly ‘shop’ or from the general housekeeping pool. There needs to be discussion at the outset of the placement about how much of the personal allowances element should be paid to the carer and how much to the young person, as pocket money and savings.

 

Savings for Children in Care

1.Introduction

All young people placed in foster care are entitled to have a nominal amount of money put aside for them as savings during the length of their care experience (Long Term Savings).  This money is not to be used for any purpose during the length of that child/young person being looked after; it should not be accessible to the young person until they reach the age of 18.  Its purpose is to provide our young people money to aid their transition to adulthood.  Children in the care of the local authority benefit from money set aside for them, to enable them to start independent living with some savings.

At present all in-house foster carers are tasked with opening saving accounts for young people in their care.  These accounts have to be in the name of the child and not accessible by the child, social worker or foster carer to withdraw money.  Some of the difficulties that have arisen have been the problem of opening these accounts with the paperwork they have available, or the delays that they have in receiving this information, as well as finding banks that would allow this.  Opening accounts for some young people can be more difficult than other such as Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children due to their status and lack of valid ID.  This can be made more complex when a young person moves quickly or frequently as savings can at times get be forgotten. Also supervising social workers and social workers should not be accepting cash/cheques from any carers and there needs to ensure all monies are clearly tracked if there are any queries e.g. via BACS.

The local authority wanted to make this process simpler and remove any potential risks of money going astray or being spent prior to the young person turning 18.  Therefore a plan for the Local Authority to manage the saving ‘at source’ for each young person was developed.  It was felt that savings for children and young people placed in house should be universal and that £5 per week (£0.83 per day) should be saved for each young person no matter what their age or how long they are placed in foster care.

  • Carers will not have the responsibility to make long term savings. Benefits of this are;
  • Carers do not need to open a long term savings account
  • Do not need to account for these or pass details on to new carers when children move
  • Do not provide details of these to supervising social workers or children’s social workers.
  • Savings are made automatically by the payments team from the weekly allowance before the carer receives this.
  • All savings are recorded and can be tracked.
  • All young people placed with in house carers receive the same amount each week from the point that they are placed in care.

It is proposed that the new system will come into operation from 2/4/2018.

2.Information about the Different Savings Accounts

There are three types of account excluding carers opening their own accounts;

  • Brighton and Hove Account
  • Share Foundation
  • Child Trust Fund

Brighton and Hove Accounts

All young people placed with Brighton and Hove foster carers will have a Brighton and Hove Child in Care account which is set up using a unique classification code for that child.  All weekly savings will be paid into this account at source rather than being paid to the carer to manage.  This money will be held in this account until either a Share Foundation account or Child Trust Fund is identified.

Share Foundation Accounts

Eligibility: All UK resident Children in Care who have been continuously looked after for over a year. If there’s a break of a single day, then the timer restarts. Respite placements do not count.  All Junior ISAs start at £200, plus whatever interest is applicable at the time. The references typically look like this: TSF186187B, they all start with the letters TSF.

The only exception to this is children born between 01/09/2002 and 02/01/2011 they automatically DO NOT qualify, as they would have had a Child Trust Fund.

Does my Young Person have a Junior ISA?

Everyone who meets the above criteria should have one. The Share Foundation is automatically notified of all children who meet this on a monthly basis. It can sometimes take a few weeks for this to be processed, but will happen without you needing to do anything.

Child Trust Funds

 A Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a long-term savings or investment account for children in the United Kingdom. New accounts cannot be created but existing accounts can receive new money: CTF new accounts were stopped in 2011 and replaced by Junior ISAs as discussed above.

Responsibility for these transferred to the Share Foundation in October 2017 for those young people that have been in care for a year or more.  You can identify if a young person has a CTF by checking their date of birth as above.

 3.Additional information:

Money will be paid from the Brighton and Hove account into a Share Foundation or CTF when one is available on a quarterly basis from the Brighton and Hove account so that a young person earns interest.  These accounts close when a young person turns 18 and no further savings can be made into them.  The young person will receive a letter from the share foundation to advise them of this money with a request of where to pay it. The social worker will also be notified.

4.Short term Savings

All children and young people should be encouraged to learn about the benefits of saving  and to develop a regular savings habit.  Foster carers can help children open a personal savings account so that they can save some of their pocket money and money they receive for their birthdays or Christmas.  Whilst children should have access to these accounts, foster carers need to support children to build on these savings.  A personal bank or savings account should be set up and managed by foster carers. You will need proof of the child's identity (passport or birth certificate) and confirmation of the address. The child's social worker or your supervising social worker should be able to arrange these documents. A record of the amount saved and account details should be written up in the foster carer recording file.

N.B. You should never place a foster child's savings in your own account.

5.Existing Savings for Children in Care Information for Foster Carers

The new savings account will be the main form of long term savings from children so you stop paying into the accounts you have set up for children in your care.

A reminder that current policy has been for foster carers to save money for children 5+ years. It has previously been recommended that foster carers put equivalent amounts into long term savings as the recommended pocket money amount

If you have already set up a savings account for children in the child’s name you will need to notify your supervising social worker child’s social worker of the details ; account number, sort code and amount in the account on 1/4/18. This information can then be stored on the child’s record for the future. It is important there is a record of this so please make sure you pass the details on.

If you have been saving for the child but not in an account in the child’s name the monies should be paid into one of the accounts via BACs or by cheque.  If this applies to a child you have been looking after you will need to you contact the Business Support Manger for the pod of your child’s social worker who will give you the details about the Brighton and Hove account where the monies need to be paid into so they can then be transferred into the child’s savings account either via BACs or cheque. Once again it is important that this information is recorded so please inform your supervising social worker

Business Support Managers

 Ben Hansford – Moulsecoomb Hub South

Karly Blackford – Whitehawk Hub

Sharron Frost – Lavender Street

If you have a current or historic savings query in relation to a young person that resides with you then you can contact your SSW or contact the Fostering Team on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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