Young People's Zone

I am a looked after child

AM I ENTITLED TO POCKET MONEY?

There isn’t any specific law about receiving pocket money but most children receive pocket money and this shouldn’t be any different if you are in care. Receiving pocket money is a good way for children to learn the value of money and to develop skills in deciding what to buy and how much things cost.

How much pocket money you receive will depend on your age and the policy (this just means the rules) that your Children’s Services has.

There will probably be some rules about what you can and can’t spend your pocket money on.  This will depend on your age, the rules in the house where you live and the rules that Children’s Services set. You may also be expected to do your chores or complete your homework before you get your pocket money; this is just a normal rule in lots of houses and isn’t anything to do with you being in care.

No matter how much pocket money you receive, it shouldn’t be used to cover the cost of things that your carers should provide for you like food, clothes and toiletries.

If you live in a children’s home, the law says that your carers shouldn’t stop your pocket money if you have done something wrong but they can use some of your pocket money to help replace or repair something if you have caused any damage in the house (The part of the law which says this is “Regulation 19(2)(f)Children’s Homes Regulations 2015”). Foster carers might do this as well.

Learning how to manage money is a really important life skill. It will become more important as you get older and as you start preparing to live independently. Your carers should help you to think about the money that you have and how best to spend it. If you want to save some of your pocket money, this is OK too and your carers should help you set up a savings account.

What can I do?

Be Prepared
If you are not receiving any pocket money or you don’t think you are getting what you are entitled to, it may be a good idea to see what your Children’s Services say in their policy. You can usually get this on their website or you can ask your social worker for a copy of the policy.

Children’s Services policy isn’t like the law – it can be changed and may vary for different children - but it will give you a good idea about what you should be getting.

Talk to People
There are several people you can talk to about your pocket money if you don’t think you are getting the right amount:

  • Your carers: they may be able to explain the rules about pocket money and they can also check out what the Children’s Services policy says. Your carers also have the biggest say over what you spend your pocket money on so talking to them is a good place to start
  • Your Social Worker: they can tell you what the Children’s Services policy says about pocket money for children your age. They can also talk to your carers if you are not getting the right amount or if you are unhappy about the rules about what you can spend your money on
  • Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (see The Name Game, Become): If you are unhappy about the rules where you are living, including about pocket money, this is something that can be raised at your LAC Review. Your IRO should know the policy and IROs also work with lots of different children so they will be able to help everyone decide what is reasonable.

Making a Complaint
If you are still unhappy after you have spoken to people, you can make a complaint about it. To find out more about making a complaint, please click here. It is important that you have checked out what the Children’s Services policy says before you consider doing this. You can find your local complaints team here.

Get Some Help
If you still feel that no-one is listening, you can contact your local advocacy service to help you get this resolved. You can find your local advocacy service by clicking here.

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