Law Change For Grieving Families Of Minors

Families Grieving The Loss Of A Child Spared Burden Of Funeral Costs

The government has finally triggered legislation to ensure that grieving families in England are not faced with the added burden of finding the money to fund a funeral if their child, under the age of 18, tragically loses their life.

The legislation also applies to parents grieving the loss of a stillborn child if they were born after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Regulations were laid before parliament on 1 July 2019 by Justice Minister, David Argar. The Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF) will then come into effect on 23 July 2019.

The CFF will reimburse burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly and will also offer £300 worth of financial support towards the price of a coffin.

The fund will not be means tested and will be available to all grieving families regardless of income.

It is estimated that 3,800 children under the age of 18 die each year with 2,700 stillbirths accounting for the total.

Carolyn Harris MP ignited the campaign by using her own personal experience to highlight the increased devastation the financial burden can cause. Following the death of her 8-year-old son in 1989, Carolyn Harris, Labour MP for Swansea East, has been a staunch campaigner for the fund.

Theresa May announced the establishment of the CFF as far back as 1 April 2018. Now, despite Brexit considerations clogging up parliamentary time, grieving families in England can now join their British counterparts with being spared the added difficulty of raising the money to pay for funeral expenses.

The Welsh government and Scottish government have already established similar schemes to provide financial support to grieving families using their devolved powers.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“At a time of such unimaginable loss, no grieving parent should be faced with the stress and worry of finding the money to cover the costs of their child’s funeral.

“I hope the Children’s Funeral Fund will bring an end to this and give families some comfort and support when they need it most.

“I would again like to pay tribute to Carolyn Harris and all those who have campaigned with such devotion and dignity on this issue.”

Justice Minister Edward Argar said:

“The loss of a child is a tragedy which no parent can prepare for.

“While nothing can ever remove the pain that bereaved families experience, this Government is determined to do everything in its power to ease the burden on them, which is why, in line with the Prime Minister’s pledge, I have developed the scheme we are announcing today.

“The Children’s Funeral Fund will provide bereaved parents with much-needed support and I am proud to have worked alongside such dedicated campaigners to make this important scheme a reality.”

DWP Minister Will Quince said:

“As a bereaved parent, I know the impact the Children’s Funeral Fund will have. No one should ever have to endure the loss of a child and thanks to this scheme grieving families will now be spared the burden of meeting funeral costs.

“I have been campaigning for more support for grieving families since entering Parliament in 2015 and I am proud that along with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) my Department and I have been able to make this fund a reality.

“We want to ensure everyone is able to say goodbye to their child with love and dignity without the added fear of how they are going to pay for it.”

Kate Lee, Chief Executive of CLIC Sargent, said:

“This announcement is a momentous day for everyone who has supported the campaign for a Children’s Funeral Fund over the last 2 years.

“But most importantly this is for every parent who has been plunged into debt to pay for their child’s funeral. As one mum said, no one should ever face the pain that they can’t afford ‘the last gift you’ll ever give your child’. This Fund is in memory of every one of their children.”

Original artcile by Martin Parrin, Today's Wills & Probate


26 September 2019

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