Transition to adult care and support
The Care Act allows for ‘transition assessments’ to take place under the adult statute in advance of a young person’s 18th birthday. The intention is to provide young people and their families with information and advice so that they know what to expect in the future and can prepare for adulthood.
The Act also requires local authorities to continue children’s services until an adult needs or carer’s assessment has taken place, and a decision has been reached about the young person’s care and support. This ensures that there is no gap in provision of care and support when people move from children’s to adult social care.
The draft guidance on transition to adult care and support covers:
- when a transition assessment must be carried out, for young people, young carers and carers of children
- features of a transition assessment
- the importance of cooperation between professionals and organisations
- provision of age-appropriate local services and resources
- what happens after the young person in question turns 18
- local authorities’ power to meet child’s carers’ needs
Instead of specifying an age, the Act states that the assessment must take place for young people who are likely to have needs for care and support after becoming 18, and when there is ‘significant benefit’ to the child in having an assessment. This recognises that circumstances are different for every young person.
There has been some concern that the term ‘significant benefit’ could be misinterpreted by local authorities to be in relation to the level of need, rather than the timing of the assessment. Through the guidance, we have sought to make as clear as possible that significant benefit is a reference to the timing of the assessment, and used a case study to further illustrate this.