Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government
Losing a child is devastating.
Providing practical support to families coping with the unbearable loss of a child is a priority for Welsh Ministers.
Together with the Welsh Local Government Association and One Voice Wales, we agreed to end burial and cremation fees for children under 18 in 2017. Last year we concluded a planned review of this agreement, to consider how it has worked in practice and whether the scope of what is covered should be expanded.
I would like to express my thanks to all those that engaged with the review, including charities who work with and support bereaved families.
It is clear the current agreement has been a positive step in achieving better consistency in relation to the charges for child burial and cremation across Wales - so that no family is disadvantaged because of where they live. It has also gone some way in reducing the financial burden on families that have suffered the loss of a child, but for many families, the stress and worry about paying for other funeral costs is still an issue.
As a result of our review I will be providing additional financial support to help towards other funeral costs, in addition to continuing to waive child burial and cremation fees.
A contribution of £500 will be made available to any family in Wales that has lost a child. This will be a universal offer regardless of the family’s income. There is no obligation to accept the payment should the family not want it.
The additional financial support will complement the support already being provided to families by the funeral sector not replace or duplicate it.
Local government will deliver the additional support to families and we have worked closely in partnership with them to develop an approach that is simple and compassionate. The support will be available from April 2021 and further information will be provided to families via the Registrar Services.
This additional financial support is part of a wider package of support for families that have lost a child. Welsh Government has established a National Bereavement Steering Group to support the development of a national bereavement framework for Wales. The framework will set out core principles, minimum standards and a range of actions to support regional and local planning. The steering group will work with health boards, local authorities and bereavement providers to implement the framework; help deliver improved bereavement arrangements; and ensure that suitable arrangements are in place to help and support families who suffer the loss of a baby, child or young person.
Child burial and cremations: information for local authorities and families