FROM April 1, families in Wales who have registered the loss of a child under the age of 18 will be able to receive £500 as a contribution towards funeral costs, Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has announced.
Families will not be required to actively seek the funding or make a claim. Instead, a one off payment will be offered by the Registrar when the death is registered.
Julie James said: “We want to offer families practical, compassionate support at an unimaginably difficult time. Local government will take the lead on delivering the additional support to families and we have worked closely in partnership with them to develop an approach that is easy to access and will provide the support when they need it.”
“No parent wants to think about having to plan their child’s funeral. We have worked with local authorities so this process is as seamless as possible for families.”
The additional financial support for funerals is part of a wider package for families who have lost a child, which includes the development of national bereavement standards and a new £1m grant to help address the gaps in bereavement service provision across Wales.
Since 2017, Welsh Government has worked with local government and One Voice Wales, which represents town and community councils in Wales, to waive child burial and cremations fees.
Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Leader said: “Losing a child is an unimaginable experience and a trauma that will forever stay with grieving families. We’ve been pleased to work in partnership with Welsh Government to ensure that there is fairness and consistency in this regard in all areas of Wales.
Extending this support means that we’ll be able to continue to support families when they need it most.”
Rhian Mannings MBE is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of 2 Wish Upon A Star, a charity supporting people affected by sudden death in children and adults.
She said: “Nobody should ever have to experience the death of their child. It goes against the pattern of life and leaves unimaginable pain and grief. That pain and devastation is often compounded by the financial burden of paying funeral costs which can amount to thousands of pounds. Planning the funeral is a difficult process.
Parents making choices about their final goodbyes is another part of the grieving process but knowing there is funding available to help towards the costs of funerals would be appreciated by so many.
“When I lost my son and husband in 2012 we were fortunate to have extended family around us to help pay for the funeral and the undertaker was extremely generous as he waived Georgie’s funeral costs.”
In response to the news of £500 support for bereaved parents in Wales, Carolyn Harris MP, Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, said: “The Welsh Labour Government was the first to support my campaign by scrapping fees for child burials or cremations, helping to ease the financial worries faced by parents who have just lost a child.
“Some 5,000 babies and children pass away each year in the UK. It is a pain and trauma that no parent can ever be prepared for. So, when that tragedy happens, parents will be totally unprepared, both emotionally and financially.
“Today’s announcement by the Welsh Labour Government goes even further. Providing a £500 payment to all families who suffer the loss of a child, is an act of unbridled compassion for which Wales is known around the world.”