As the leading provider of legal services to individuals and the families and carers of disabled and vulnerable people, we have today launched a campaign to raise awareness of an issue that will impact thousands of children across the UK.
The launch of the #ChildTrustFundAccess campaign is designed to highlight a critical problem with Child Trust Funds, which we believe could see thousands of disabled children disadvantaged.
The UK Government introduced Child Trust Funds in 2005 with the aim of ensuring that every child has savings at the age of 18. However, there was no consideration made for the needs of disabled and vulnerable people, who may not have the mental capacity to be able to access and manage their funds at the age of 18.
For those that do not have the mental capacity to manage their finances, their families and 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 actually exceed the amount held in the Child Trust Fund.
Katherine Miller, Director said: “we are passionate about protecting and highlighting the needs of our clients and their families. We talk to many parents about their child’s savings and Child Trust Funds, and it became apparent to us that there was a real issue around mental capacity and a child’s ability to understand or sign documents relating to the fund. At present the only way for a parent or carer to access the money on behalf of their child is to apply to the Court of Protection to become the child’s deputy. Not only is this a costly process, but it is complex and time-consuming, putting unnecessary pressure and hurdles on families who already live with many challenges”.
Following the launch of the campaign today, we will be gathering information to help build a picture of the true scale of the issue. This will form the basis of the campaign, which will call for a change to the system to ensure more children will be able access their funds without incurring large fees.
We have created an online survey to gather experiences and data. Those families with a child born, between 1st September 2002 and 2 January 2011, who has a disability, is vulnerable or has additional needs , are invited to take part here.
We have also created an online petition to raise awareness at a central Government level, signatures are being gathered here.
All of the information about the campaign is available on our website: https://www.renaissancelegal.co.uk/child-trust-fund-access/