Most children born in the UK between the above dates should have an individual Child Trust Fund (CTF) account open in their name, ready for when they reach age 18.
The Government (in 2002) set up the Child Trust Fund to encourage children to save money and gave them a head start by investing a sum of money to get them started, which they can access at age 18.
This was a new initiative in asset-based welfare, and a subsequent government stopped providing it in 2011.
For most children born between September 2002 and January 2011 the Government put £250 into a Child Trust Fund at birth and topped this up with a further £250 when the child reached 7 years of age. These amounts were doubled for children in families in receipt of Child Tax Credit.
The original accounts should have been set up by their Birth Parents (using the child`s Birth Name). If they didn’t do this (for whatever reason), the government (Inland Revenue) set up a CTF account for the child as an HMRC-allocated account, using a range of account providers.
There are complications for adopted children and young people. Adoptive parents could have had the ‘registered contact’ status for the account transferred to themselves after an adoption order was granted, but there may have been complications with change of name etc. Adoptive parents were able to make contributions to these accounts over the years. If your child is under 18 there could still be opportunities to do this.
Most of these accounts were invested in the stock market, so many have accumulated growth over the years, and may now potentially be worth £1,000 or more.
Eligible teenagers aged 16 – 18 can take control of these accounts, at any time following their 16th Birthday – and can, for example, choose which account they wish their CTF to be invested in.
However only the young person can withdraw money from their account (after their 18th Birthday), and legally they are entitled to spend the money in any way they choose. Parents may advise them to use it wisely – e.g., invest it for when they are older – but the law states they have the right to withdraw it and spend it in any way they decide.
Should adopters (or adopted young people over age 16) wish to discover where these accounts are (i.e., which account provider they are with) I suggest they contact The Share Foundation (also known as ‘Sharefound’), which is a registered charity and works for the Department for Education as the organisation running the CTF and Junior ISA schemes for young people in care.
The Share Foundation also provides regular virtual events providing and discussing more details of above, which can be attended by young people aged 16 and over, parents, foster carers and professionals.
For details of these (and to access advice) visit https://findctf.sharefound.org or you can ring them on 01269 310400. When using the search facility remember that the young person should have their National Insurance number at hand (provided by HMRC just after their 16th birthday).
For children born after 02/01/2011 parents can currently open Junior ISAs on their children’s behalf, but government contributions are now only made for looked-after children and young people.