Child Trust Funds - Transfer & Reconciliation
Child Trust Funds were opened for all children in care who were born between 1st September 2002 and 2nd January 2011, so these children are now between 7 and 15 years of age. As from 2005, Local Authorities sent information of those eligible to HM Revenue & Customs who arranged for the accounts to be opened with a range of ‘Revenue-Allocated’ Child Trust Fund providers (there were originally 14 of these investment firms).
So far as their ‘Recognised Contact’ was concerned (and in contrast to Junior ISA accounts where all young people in care are co-ordinated by The Share Foundation), the Local Authority was asked to identify whether there was or was not a person in a ‘position of parental responsibility’. If there was such a person, the account went to them for oversight; if there was not, the account was notified to the Official Solicitors or Accountants of Court for oversight.
Over the past 12 years there have been many changes as children have left care, entered into care (this could have been as orphan migrants into the United Kingdom) without Child Trust Funds, or moved between foster carers and or foster homes (thus changing or removing the person in a ‘position of parental responsibility’).
Unlike the Junior ISA scheme, Child Trust Funds for children and young people in care did not have the same regular data interchange which exists between Local Authorities and ourselves: so the profile of young people in care was not mirrored at the Official Solicitors/ Accountants of Court.
Transfer and Reconciliation process
The Share Foundation is therefore undertaking a thorough reconciliation of Child Trust Fund accounts for young people in care as they are transferred and, working with Local Authorities and HM Revenue & Customs, we will ensure that our oversight links all these young people to their accounts. The process is as follows:
- In October 2017 the Official Solicitors and Accountants of Court transferred all Child Trust Fund records to us at The Share Foundation.
- We then requested, and continue to receive, records from all Local Authorities throughout the United Kingdom for all children and young people in care who should have a Child Trust Fund.
- As this information is received from Local Authorities we are including matched records forthwith within our main database, and these young people’s accounts are then overseen alongside Junior ISAs for young people in care.
- A further request is then made to Local Authorities, asking for the subdivision of those unmatched children and young people in care with and without a ‘person in parental responsibility’. As a result of this two-stage process we are able to assist with queries relating to those whose parental responsibility status changes or is unclear, and in helping to ensure that all young people will have access in due course to the Stepladder of Achievement.
- The records for those without a ‘person in parental responsibility’ and who do not have a match with the Official Solicitor /Accountant of Court record are then sent to HM Revenue & Customs in order to locate their account and Child Trust Fund provider:
- if this information can be provided by HMRC, the account record is created in our database and normal oversight by The Share Foundation commences;
- if a Child Trust Fund account cannot be found and the young person meets the eligibility criteria, a Junior ISA account will be opened for them forthwith.
There are also records at the Official Solicitors / Accountants of Court which do not find a match with Local Authorities. If the child status is set to ‘in care’ we request confirmation from the Local Authority concerned - once that is given, we ask them to include that young person in their records in future.
This transfer and reconciliation process is therefore complex and detailed, and it will inevitably take several months to achieve. However we are working closely with all parties to achieve a successful outcome, and keeping the Department for Education informed of progress at all stages. As at year end 2017 records for Stage 2 of the process shown above have been received from nearly two-thirds of Local Authorities, and we will publish a full status report as at our financial year-end, 31st March 2018.