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Preparing for adulthood

Preparing for adulthood

Transition or preparing for adulthood is the term used to describe the process which is in place to support young people and their families move from services they have received as a child into those that they need when they become an adult.

Effective person centred transition planning is essential to help young people and their families prepare for adulthood. Transition to adult care and support comes at a time when a lot of change can take place in a young person’s life. It can also mean changes to the care and support they receive from education, health and care services, or involvement with new agencies such as those who provide support for housing, employment or further education and training.

The years in which a young person is approaching adulthood should be full of opportunity. Some of the issues that matter for young people approaching adulthood, and their families, may include (but are not limited to):

  • paid employment;
  • good health;
  • completing exams or moving to further education;
  • Independent living (choice and control over one’s life and good housing options);
  • Social inclusion (friends, relationships and community).

The wellbeing of each young person or carer must be taken into account so that assessment and planning is based around the individual needs, wishes, and outcomes which matter to that person.

Historically, there has sometimes been a lack of effective planning for people using children’s services who are approaching adulthood. Looked after children, young people with disabilities, and carers are often among the groups of people with the lowest life chances. Early conversations provide an opportunity for young people and their families to reflect on their strengths, needs and desired outcomes, and to plan ahead for how they will achieve their goals.

Professionals from different agencies, families, friends and the wider community should work together in a coordinated manner around each young person or carer to help raise their aspirations and achieve the outcomes that matter to them.

The purpose of carrying out transition assessments is to provide young people and their families with information so that they know what to expect in the future and can prepare for adulthood.

The ALDT are proactively involved in transition assessments from the age of 16years to ensure the young person has a positive experience of transition and is well prepared for adulthood.

This support includes earlier planning, access to consistent information, and a clear and fully coordinated move into adult services is planned and at the most appropriate transition point suitable to the young person.

Transition assessments can develop solutions which do not necessarily involve the provision of services, and which may aid planning that helps to prevent, reduce or delay the development of needs for care or support.

Transition assessments will also allow the local authority to better understand the needs of people in their population, and to plan resources and commission services for young people and carers accordingly.

Bedford Borough and partner agencies are committed to ensure that a multi-agency and person centred approach is in place; to ensure the individual outcomes we aim to achieve with children and young people will enable them to take their place as valued adult citizens of Bedford Borough; where their voices are heard, they continue to learn and develop as they gain greater Independence, control and choice of their lives.

Quarterly tracking meetings are held with the multi-disciplinary team, including health, education and children and adult social care. Identifying and monitoring the progress of support for those affected by PFA. This in turn supports the financial forecasting undertaken by adult services, to give a realistic projection of the presenting needs that will come our way year on year up to 2030.

When young people who have not been in contact with children’s services present to the local authority as a young adult, they often do so with a high level of need for care and support. That is why the tracking with partner agencies and forecasting has been proactive in identifying these groups as early as possible so they can plan and prevent the development of care and support needs.

This is intelligence also Cross referenced with Transforming care agenda and complex/forensic presenting needs that warrant Continuing Health Care applications and support from the BCCG for example S117 funding, it also promotes the early identification of complex need and how we will plan and develop local services to meet those needs. Therefore the continuation of collaborative work with Bedfordshire CCG is essential, to develop more local provision to support diverse need that will be proactive and sustainable.

The appointment of a PFA advanced practitioner in the Adult Learning Disability Team (ALDT) has provided a central point to have a strategic view of this information, as well as proactively supporting and developing the workforce’s knowledge of key elements of law that impact directly on practice, for example the mental capacity legislation and deprivation of liberty safeguards.

This role provides support to other professionals involved with individual cases that have complex needs. Providing the steer and prompt for timely applications to Continuing Health Care ( CHC), referrals for specific support services for health and social care needs, to ensure we move away from disjointed or delayed transfers of care from children to adults.

It is also a role that has established good working relationships with families’ carers and all our partners, to support and improve the experience of transition for all concerned. Attending multidisciplinary forums, EHCP reviews at schools and being influential in the PFA steering groups within the council, set up to ensure compliance to the outcomes and targets of the SEND reforms.

A  PFA protocol between children and adult services is now operational since 2017. This is to ensure co-production is completed in a meaningful way to provide a clear pathway for the process from child to adult.

The development of annual ‘open’ events, twice a year have been established since 2016. Providing the opportunity to look and interact with services that are on the local offer in a more meaningful and interactive way, for young people and their carer’s and families. The events have included employment, further education, housing/independent living options, and social and leisure activities.

Increased knowledge and access to personal budgets and direct payments, needs to continue momentum, through the care management assessment and EHCP review. This is an integral part of the assessment and planning process for preparing for adulthood.

Even if a young person is not eligible for services, a transition assessment with good information and advice about support in the community can be particularly helpful for these groups as they are less likely to be aware of this, and enable effective signposting to more appropriate services that will best meet the needs of the young person.