Children and families project
This project focuses on two main issues: disabled children and their families; and situations where a child is living away from her/his birth family. This project aims to increase awareness and raise expertise in advising these client groups on getting their full entitlement of benefits and tax credits.
Around 65,000 children in Scotland have a disability or additional needs, putting them and their families at a higher than average risk of poverty. For many of them the benefits and tax credits system is an important (or the only) source of income. Yet less than half of those children eligible for disability benefits are estimated to be receiving them. For those that do claim, the process can be difficult and confusing.
Through feedback from our network of trainers and from users of our casework support service we have become increasingly aware of a lack of information, advice and support available on the complex issues facing children living away from home. The interaction of the benefits and tax credits system with other sources of financial support adds to the complexity and creates a need for a specific Scottish information resource for use by those working with and advising families.
Children’s Handbook Scotland
This project has produced the Children's Handbook Scotland, which gives comprehensive guidance on benefits and tax credits issues where a child is living away from their parents. This might be if the child is at residential school, in residential care, being looked after by the local authority, or in foster care or kinship care. These situations throw up complex benefit and tax credit issues which this Handbook will help demystify.
The Handbook is fully referenced to legislation and caselaw and includes practical examples. It is aimed at advisers and frontline staff such as social workers and is available in print and is available online.
The new edition is updated with all changes to benefits and procedures. It includes:
- Benefit and tax credit entitlement when children are living away from home
- How payments made by local authorities to carers affect benefits and tax credits
- Local authority responsibilities to care leavers
Children’s Handbook Scotland: A benefits guide for children living away from their parents 2012/13 (November 2012) £14.00
We have produced two factsheets for advisers on benefits and tax credits topics relevant to those working with families with a disabled child.
- Benefits for disabled children and their families – a checklist (May 2012)
- Disabled young people (May 2012)
- Welfare reform and carers (March 2013)
We have also produced the following factsheets for advisers helping children and young people living away from their families.
- Care leavers and benefits: giving good advice (produced in conjunction with Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) (April 2013)
- Kinship care and benefits – the essentials (September 2011)
- Children looked after away from home by the local authority – impact on family benefits and tax credits (October 2010)
To request printed copies of any of our factsheets please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have also produced a variety of information resources for particular situations, a selection of which is included below.
- ESA or benefits for parents - choices when a disabled young person lives at home (June 2012)
- Completing DLA statements for children and young people – guidance for education staff (May 2011)
We have developed training courses aimed at frontline advisers, social work staff and support staff working with children and families. These courses can also be booked on an in-house basis.
- Benefits for disabled children and their families (Basic level)
- Benefits for disabled children from age 16 (Basic level)
- Kinship care, looked after children and care
Our two basic level courses are at the special price of £25 per person for organisations in Scotland. We also provide these courses in-house for £150 in total for up to 20 people at your workplace or a venue which suits you.
Our quarterly benefits for disabled children e-bulletin keeps you up to date on benefits for those working with families with disabled children. You can sign up to receive the ebulletin here.
Advice line for advisers in Scotland
We offer advice and information to advisers in Scotland on all aspects of the welfare benefits and tax credits systems through our advice line.
If you are interested in this project and wish to be kept up-to-date with progress, please contact:
Alison Gillies (Children's Handbook Scotland)
Tel: 0141 548 1056
Jon Shaw (Disabled children)
Tel: 0141 552 3545
This project is funded by the Scottish Government.