Also access: Frequently Asked Questions
The Government have contributed £200 to open a Junior ISA for each eligible looked after child throughout the United Kingdom. All children under your responsibility, who have been continuously in care for at least a year and who do not have a Child Trust Fund, are eligible for a Junior ISA.
The Share Foundation, a registered charity, has been authorised by the Government to set up and manage the Junior ISAs for all looked after children. The Share Foundation is also raising funds which it will contribute to the Junior ISAs that it manages. These may be unrestricted, or restricted by local authority, region or country.
Local Authorities play a vital role by sending us details of the children and young people who are eligible for these accounts, and authorising contact with carers and others as part of this regular data download. The Share Foundation cannot set up and manage these accounts without this information.
Local Authorities are therefore crucial to the effective operation of the scheme, and in enabling young people and their carers to make maximum use of the opportunities it offers. All local Authorities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are invited to register with The Share Foundation.
The core required data, governed by a Privacy Impact Assessment, is the child's first name and surname, gender, date of birth, UK residency and date entered care. This is sent by GSI secure connection, to The Share Foundation.
Due to these data protection requirements The Share Foundation can only discuss, and provide information on, specific accounts where a carer or young person has been authorised in a regular data download from the Local Authority concerned: so we do ask your help in making the scheme come alive by putting us in touch wherever possible. A 'Getting access' proforma letter is provided for carers to give their permission to you so that you can pass on their information to us. Young people aged 15-17 can also authorise us to speak directly with them by sending the reply slip to us (freepost) from this short leaflet. The leaflet is also being distributed through our Local Authority contacts.
If you refer to our Register of Local Authorities & Junior ISAs, you can see the number of Junior ISAs already opened by each Local Authority (this is not shown if the number is less than 10).
Who decides how to invest the money in a Junior ISA for looked after children?
The Share Foundation obtains independent advice from financial advisers about how the money should be invested.
When can the money be taken out?
The money in a Junior ISA belongs to the young person, but they can’t take the money out until they are 18. If the young person chooses not to take the money out, the Junior ISA will automatically become a regular ISA.
No-one, other than the young person, can take money out. There are exceptions if the child is terminally ill or dies: there are information sheets for these cases.
Can anyone contribute to the Junior ISA and if so how do they do this?
Yes. Anyone can contribute to a Junior ISA. So you can let friends and family of the eligible young people know they can contribute at any time: for example as birthday gifts. The total limit for payments into Junior ISAs is currently £4,080 each tax year. If you know of someone who wishes to contribute to a Junior ISA for an eligible young person, please include them in the regular data download you send so that they can contact us.
What information is available for carers, parents and young people that I can give them?
A series of information sheets, like this one, is available. The list of sheets is attached. The colour coding is for your internal use; black and white photocopies may be given to carers, parents and young people.
Is it possible to see how much money is in the JISA or how it is performing?
Regular Junior ISA statements will be sent to local authoritiesThe full Junior ISA provider’s statement will be provided on request.
Can I get advice and support on how to help children and young people in care manage their finances as part of the scheme?
Yes - a programme of financial education support is available to you. Materials for Local Authorities and Corporate Parents, carers and young people themselves have been developed by pfeg and are available via www.sharefound.org or the pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) website at www.pfeg.org/JuniorISA.
Telephone support is also available to advise you on relevant educational materials which can be used by carers and the young people in their care, to encourage learning about money and in particular savings and Junior ISAs. Call pfeg on 0300 6660 127.
Starting in Summer 2016 The Share Foundation is introducing a programme of incentivised learning called the Stepladder of Achievement, for 15-17 year-olds. As young people complete the steps (which include literacy, numeracy and financial capability), they 'earn' payments into their Junior ISA up to a maximum value of £1,500. The programme will take time to introduce on a local authority by local authority basis. Click here for more information.
Is it possible to contact The Share Foundation and get further information?
Further information on the scheme and copies of all materials can be obtained from The Share Foundation website www.sharefound.org.
We've also prepared some 'Frequently Asked Questions' for Local Authorities, based on discussions to date. Please note that we can only provide general information to carers and others until they have been authorised by the Local Authority by inclusion in the regular data download.
Please call 01296 310400, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
The Share Foundation, Oxford House, Oxford Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 8PB