Families on benefits should have to make the same financial decisions as families supporting themselves solely through work. However, in recognition that some claimants are not able to make choices about the number of children in their family the government has provided exceptions in certain cases. Following debate in parliament and a public consultation, the government introduced regulations that allow exceptions to apply in cases where the third or subsequent children are:
part of a multiple birth, although it does not cover one child in that birth on the grounds that the parents would have expected the pregnancy to have resulted in at least one birth;
children who are adopted when they would otherwise be in Local Authority care;
in non-parental caring arrangements, including formal arrangements (e.g. Child Arrangement Orders, Special Guardianship Orders, certain Scottish Kinship Care Orders etc) and informal arrangements where the child is living long terms with friends or family and would otherwise be at risk of entering the care system;
born as a result of non-consensual conception (including cases of rape or coercion and control).
Statistics relating to exceptions to the limit on support to two children in Child Tax Credit will be published once there are sufficient cases to enable robust analysis and the data has been quality assured.