Families grieving the loss of a child will no longer have to meet the costs of their burial or cremation, as a result of a new government scheme set up to provide financial help.
Every year in England an estimated 3,800 children die under the age of 18, and there are a further 2,700 stillbirths. Bereaved parents can find themselves facing bills of thousands of pounds for burial or cremation fees which can vary widely across the country.
The Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF) aims to reduce the financial burden for families by reimbursing burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly. The fund will be available regardless of the family’s income, and will also include a contribution towards the cost of a coffin.
The news comes after prime minister Theresa May last year pledged to abolish children’s burial and cremation fees, and follows a cross-party campaign led by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris after the death of her eight-year-old son, Martin.
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, added: “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.”
Regulations are to be laid in parliament today (1 July) by justice minister, Edward Argar, ahead of the fund coming into effect on 23 July.