- What does transition to adult care and support mean?
- What is the process for transition?
- Who is the transition process for?
- Who is involved?
Under legislation a young person becomes an adult on their 18th birthday. Transition, therefore, is the term that describes the process for young people – and their families – to move from receiving support from children’s services to adult services.
Under the Care Act 2014 the local authority must assess a young person – and their carer if appropriate – before they turn 18, to see if they will be likely to have care and support needs.
Before the transition assessment, early conversations between staff and the young person give an opportunity for young people and their families, as appropriate, to reflect with staff on their strengths, needs and the outcomes they want to plan for so they can achieve their goals.
Transition assessments should take place at the right time for the young person or carer and at a point when the local authority can be reasonably confident about what the young person’s or carer’s needs for care or support will look like, after the young person turns 18. There is no set age when young people reach this point; every young person and their family is different, and therefore, transition assessments should take place when it is most appropriate for them.
The transition assessment should also provide young people and their families with information, so that they know what to expect in the future and can prepare for adulthood.
After the transition assessment has been completed, the local authority must give an indication of which needs the young person has that are likely to be ‘eligible needs’ (and which are not likely to be eligible) once they turn 18. This means whether their needs are at a level where the local authority will provide care and support. The minimum level of eligible needs is set down in law.
Most young people who receive transition assessments will be children in need under the Children Act 1989 and will already be known to local authorities. They may be looked after by the local authority, have disabilities or be young carers.
However, local authorities should consider how they can identify other young people who are not already receiving children’s services but who are likely to have care and support needs as an adult. For example:
- young people with medical conditions that will probably get worse over time;
- young people (for example with autism) whose needs have been met by their school, but once they leave, their needs will have to be met in another way;
- young people in young offender institutions who will move to adult prisons;
- young people and young carers receiving mental health support, even if they did not receive children’s services from the local authority.
The young person, their carer and / or family or friends and professionals from different agencies who are already involved, or are likely to become involved, should all work together in a coordinated way. Everyone should be working to support the young person achieve the outcomes that are important to them.
If the young person is likely to have difficulty in understanding important information or in communicating their views, wishes and feelings, there must be someone at the transition assessment to work with them to act on their behalf. The local authority must make sure an independent advocate is working with the young person if there is nobody else appropriate, for example a family member.