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Family Fund

Volume 504: debated on Friday 29 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much funding was provided through the Family Fund in each of the last five years; what assessment he has made of the level of take-up of such funding by low-income families with one or more severely disabled children; and when he last met the Chief Executive of the Family Fund. (309985)

The Family Fund Trust (FFT) (England) provides grants to families with severely disabled children or young people under 18. Families are eligible to apply for grants if they have an annual income of less than £23,000 before tax. Over the last five years the FFT has received the following in grant funding from the Department:

£ million

2005/06

22.8

2006/07

22.8

2007/08

22.8

2008/09

24.4

2009/10

25.0

As a result of commitments in The Children's Plan, the FFT was allocated an additional £8.4 million, payable over the current CSR period; with this additional funding the FFT changed the eligibility criteria for receipt of grants to include families with disabled children/young people under 18. Prior to that grants were made to families with disabled children under 16. The additional funding has been reflected in the table above.

Since extending eligibility criteria, the FFT have awarded grants to an additional 2,586 16-year-olds in 2008-09. Their target for 2009-10 is to issue between 4,750 and 5,000 grants to 16 and 17-year-olds.

The total numbers of families helped by FFT over the last five years are as follows:

Family fund trust—England

Number of families helped

2005/06

35,740

2006/07

38,857

2007/08

37,007

2008/09

38,889

2009/10

Not available

The FFT is required to provide the Department with annual accounts and details of its activities during the year, which is reviewed by officials. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families last meet with the chief executive of the Family Fund Trust on 16 April 2008.