News and Blogs News £10 child benefit top-up would benefit care-experienced parents Staf CEO Jo Derrick has joined calls for £10 per week child benefit top-up to lift families out of poverty, which will particularly support care-experienced parents who may be experiencing unexpected financial difficulties. Jo Derrick has signed a letter organised by CPAG to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for the increase, alongside over 40 other organisations across civic Scotland. Care-experienced parents are less likely to have a strong family network to support them, making the current crisis a particularly challenging time. In addition, the Independent Care Review found that care-experienced young people are one and a half times more likely to have financial difficulties and, on average, earn three quarters of the salaries of their peers. With most schools and nurseries now closed, this could also mean further unexpected financial difficulties for parents. CPAG Scotland estimate that a £10 per week per child increase in child benefit (on top of the uprating from 6th April) would reduce child poverty by 5 per cent. Staf CEO Jo Derrick said: “The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the additional challenges already faced by care-experienced mums and dads, particularly as so many will be without the strong family network of their peers. “Increasing child benefit is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lift children out of poverty – Staf wholeheartedly support the call for an additional £10 per week increase. “Increasing child benefit will not only tackle the immediate financial concerns of the current crisis but, by reducing poverty, it will help us ensure that we build back better.” Simone Smith, a member of Staf’s Board of Directors and a Mum with care-experience added: “Being a care leaver can be hard, but being a single mother with care experience having a daughter can be extra hard. “The help and support most people receive from extended family was non-existent for me, my child benefit and child tax was all the support I had for my child. “I began to save all my child benefit up for my daughter when she was older but it wasn’t long before I struggled, I had no money so I had to start using child benefit for gas/leccy and food. At the start I felt so guilty using this money on things we needed to survive but I was living in poverty. There were days that all I would eat was frozen veg because I had no money as it was either heat the flat or feed myself and that was an easy solution for myself as my daughter always comes first no matter what. “That is why I’m endorsing Staf’s ask to extend child benefit for care leavers, because it really can make all the difference. It did for me. I began not to feel guilty for using my child benefit for heating or gas for my house at that present time because all I want is for my daughter to feel safe and loved. “Now my child benefit goes straight to my daughter in her Minion money bank and she uses it to socialise with her friends to go to the cinema or trampolining with friends, things that I missed out on as a child.” Find out more: Read the CPAG Scotland press release on the letter. Read the letter and full list of signatories.