As a carer for a child or young person in care, you will naturally be interested to ensure that the Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund schemes are operating in their best interests. We hope the website gives you a full picture of how they work, but it is important to note that we can only provide you with personal information, or indeed discuss personal circumstances affecting a particular young person, if your Local Authority authorises you to have direct contact with us.
They do this by including you on their regular information return to us. The 'Getting access' letter gives them your permission to release your information in this way. Nevertheless, we hope the following information will be helpful.
The Share Foundation, a registered charity, has been authorised by the Government to set up and manage the Junior ISAs, and to manage Child Trust Funds, for all looked after children. In addition to the initial £200 Government contribution, The Share Foundation also raises funds to contribute to the Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds that it manages.
Who decides how to invest the money in a Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund 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 or Child Trust Fund belongs to the young person, but they can’t take the money out until they are 18. They can then decide what they want to do with it. If the young person chooses not to take the money out, the Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund will automatically become a regular ISA or ‘Matured CTF’. No-one, other than the young person, can take money out.
Can anyone contribute to the Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund and if so how do they do this?
Yes. Anyone can contribute to a Junior ISA or Child Trust Fund. So you can let friends and family of the young person know they can contribute at any time; for example as birthday gifts. The total limit for payments into Junior ISAs or Child Trust Funds is £4,368 each tax year. If you or someone else wishes to contribute then contact the Local Authority who will enable you to contact The Share Foundation direct.
The Share Foundation also raises funds for the Junior ISAs and Child Trust Funds that it manages.
Is it possible to see how much money is in the Junior ISA/Child Trust Fund or how it is performing?
Regular Junior ISA/Child Trust Fund statements will be sent to the local authority, and you can obtain a copy from them. If you would like to discuss details of an individual young person’s statement, contact your local authority to authorise release of your details to The Share Foundation.
Can I get advice and support on how to help the children in my care to 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 and are available via www.sharefound.org.
Telephone support is also available to advise you on relevant educational materials to use with the young people in your care around money. We can also advise on how to begin discussions with them about their Junior ISAs/Child Trust Funds, and money management in general. Call us on 01296 310400.
The Share Foundation has also introduced a programme called the 'Stepladder of Achievement' for those aged 15-17. This has six steps including literacy, numeracy and financial capability. There are two version of Stepladder: in its standard form, it is available across all UK local authorities for any young person in care or care leavers up to the age of 25.
The ‘Stepladder Plus’ version provides additional money after completion of each step as an incentive, which is credited to the young person's Junior ISA/Child Trust Fund. Please note: that we can only introduce Stepladder Plus in local authorities where we have been able to secure funding for the incentive payments. Please click here for more details of Stepladder Plus availability.
Is it possible to get further information?
Further information on the schemes and copies of all materials can be obtained from The Share Foundation website www.sharefound.org or by calling the number below. Please note that we can only supply general information only unless authorised by your Local Authority.
Call 01296 310400, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to The Share Foundation, Elsinore House, 43 Buckingham Street, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP20 2NQ