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Child Trust Fund Access

Child Trust Fund Access: A very real issue

06.09.17

With over 780 signatures (and counting…) on the Child Trust Fund Access petition, this campaign is gaining in momentum daily. The Child Trust Fund Access campaign continues to raise awareness of the issues some disabled children will face when they come to access the money held in their Child Trust Fund.

Real problems for real families

As well as the hundreds of signatures demonstrating support, the change.org petition allows individuals to comment on the reasons why they are signing the petition. These comments highlight the real-life issues that some families with disabled and vulnerable children will face when trying to access the money.

‘I’m signing this petition because I was unaware, until today, that my disabled child may not be able to access this fund at the age of 18. This fund was set up in good faith at birth and now I learn may involve a very lengthy & costly process to access funds, leaving him disadvantaged yet again as he has experienced all through his life, living in a society where caring for a disabled child is hugely challenging’ Parent/Carer, Sutton.

Scale of the problem

A recent survey shows 87% of families believe that their disabled child won’t be able to access the money held within their Child Trust Fund once they reach the age of 18. This is confirmed by the majority of parents who have pledged their support to the campaign; ‘My son is nearly 8 years old. He has a severe learning disability, is autistic and non-verbal. I am worried about him getting access to his Child Trust Fund without my assistance or incurring large fees.’ Parent/Carer, Greater London

The survey also highlighted that 90% of respondents didn’t know how to access the money on behalf of their child in the event that they do not have the mental capacity to do so themselves; ‘My daughter is disabled. I had no idea about this issue until a lawyer told me yesterday. Hard to believe this has not been addressed after so many years!’ Parent/Carer, Epsom.

Other people who have signed the petition but are not directly affected still have strong feelings about the Child Trust Fund Access campaign; ‘Disabled children and their families should not be penalised. The rules must be changed to take their needs into account’ Chatham and ‘Everybody, disabled or not should have the same opportunities in life.’

Why is this happening?

The UK Government introduced the Child Trust Fund in 2005 with the aim of ensuring every child has savings at the age of 18. However, the planning was not properly thought through for children who are disabled and vulnerable, not least because these children may not have the mental capacity to be able to access and manage this money at the age of 18.

If they do not have the mental capacity, then their families/carers will need to apply to the Court of Protection to act as the child’s deputy. This process can cost in excess of £400, a sum which may exceed the amount held in the Child Trust Fund in the first place. It can also be a lengthy and time consuming process, putting unnecessary pressure and hurdles on families who already live with many challenges.

Other people who have signed the petition but are not directly affected still have strong feelings about the Child Trust Fund Access campaign; ‘Disabled children and their families should not be penalised. The rules must be changed to take their needs into account’ Chatham and ‘Everybody, disabled or not should have the same opportunities in life.’

To help raise awareness of this issue at a Government level, please sign the petition by clicking here.

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