This means that a one-off lump sum payment of £3,056 can be payable from the Fund to help families with the cost of a funeral on the death of a child under 18, or in the event of a stillbirth after 24 weeks.
Applications to the Child Funeral Fund can be taken over the telephone by calling the Bereavement Service Helpline on Freephone 0800 085 2463 or by an application form available to download from the NI Direct website.
Minister Hargey said: “I am committed to making real change by supporting people when they need it most and there can be no more difficult circumstances than the loss of a child.
“The Child Funeral Fund will help lessen financial stress for bereaved families during the most devastating of times. The Fund will not be means-tested, meaning it is available to everyone regardless of their financial status.”
She added: “On bringing forward this scheme, I asked my officials to ensure the application process is straightforward so that no additional burden or stress is caused to bereaved families.
“A payment from the Fund will support families who are dealing with loss and grief by easing some of the financial concerns that can come with the death of a child.”