Young People's Zone

I am a looked after child

AM I SUPPOSED TO HAVE MONEY PUT IN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT FOR ME?

There are two types of savings account that children and young people might have whilst they are in care:

1. Junior Savings Account
Every child who has been in care for 12 months or more should have a Junior Savings Account into which the government will place £200 (The part of the law which says this is Statutory Guidance of Junior Individual Saving Accounts for Looked After Children, 2012). The exact type of account that will be set up will depend on when you were born (a Child Trust Fund (CFT) if born between 01/09/2002 and 02/01/2011 or a Junior ISA if you were born after 02/01/2011).

Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (see The Name Game, Become) should make sure that you have this account and that both you and your carers are aware of it.

You won’t be able to access this money while you are growing up but you will get the money when you turn 18. If you leave care before you are 18, the person with parental responsibility (normally your parents) will be put in charge of the account. If you are aged 18 or over when you leave care, the account will be passed over to you.

2. Personal savings account
Your carers may set up a separate personal savings account for you that you can access as you are growing up. Sometimes, Children’s Services have a policy (this just means the rules) which says that money needs to be paid into a savings account regularly by your carers. Some Children’s Services won’t have this rule but carers may decide to do this anyway. The rules vary from place to place so you will need to check out what the rules are for you.

You may want to save some of your pocket money in your savings account and your carers should help you do this.

Your carers will help you decide when you can take money out of this account. Learning to save money is an important life skill and you will never save anything if you take money out all the time so sometimes your carers may say no to you wanting to withdraw money.

If you move placement, all details of your personal savings account(s) should be passed to your new carers, or given to you if you are moving to independent living. Your social worker or IRO should make sure that this happens.

What can I do?

Be Prepared
If you are not sure whether you have a savings account or whether your carers should be paying into an account for you, it may be a good idea to see what your Children’s Services policy says. You can usually find this on the Children’s Services website or you can ask your social worker for a copy of it.

Talk to People
There are several people you can talk to about your savings:

  • Your carers: they should know whether you have a savings account and what the rules are about any money that goes in or out of this account. They can help you think about adding to your savings account or help you to decide whether you can access the money to buy something special.
  • Your Social Worker: they can tell you what the Children’s Services policy is about savings and they can also talk to your carers to check that you are getting the right amount of money paid into your savings. They can also help you talk to your carers if you are unhappy about the rules about what you can spend this money on.
  • Your Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) (see The Name Game, Become): Your IRO should know about your savings accounts and this should be noted in your care plan. If you think that you are not getting what you are entitled to, or you are unhappy about the rules about accessing your money, you can talk about this at your LAC Review. Your IRO should know the Children’s Services policy and they work with lots of different children so will be able to help everyone decide what is reasonable.

Making a Complaint
If you are not getting the savings you are entitled to, you can make a complaint about it. To find out more about making a complaint, please click here. You can also complain if you have moved placements or left care and the savings haven’t been passed on to you (or to your new carer if you are under 16 years old). 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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