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Transition from Child to Adult - Frequently Asked Questions

These ‘frequently asked questions’ have been asked by parents of children and young people who have a disability or special educational need.

Parents have also been involved in preparing these answers. They cannot answer every issue facing a parent who’s son or daughter is coming up to the move from being a user of children’s services to being an adult, but hopefully will signpost parent’s to the right place

As a parent helping my child to prepare and plan for the move to adult services at 18 years, I want to know about the process of moving to adult services

I want to know about Adult Social Care

My son or daughter has general health needs

My son or daughter has mental health needs

I need to know about learning, training and work options

I have concerns about transport, and need to know more

My young adult may be living away from home and I need to know more

My young adult may be living at home with me and the rest of the family and I need to know more

My young adult will need leisure activities and a social life if they are living at home, independently or in supported accommodation

As a parent helping my child to prepare and plan for the move to adult services at 18 years, I want about the process of moving to adult services

If (and how) my rights and responsibilities will change as my child becomes an adult?

When your child becomes 18 you are no longer legally responsible for your child.  This does not mean you can no longer play an active role in their ongoing support.     

What are the legal differences once my child reaches 18 years?

Once a person reaches 18 they become adult’s in their own right and will be assessed independently of their parents in regards to a number of areas, including support needs, housing requirements and benefit entitlement. 

If my child will have to make decisions about their future, how can I support them to do this legally?

'Mental capacity' is the legal way of describing someone’s ability to make a decision or act for themselves.  The Mental Capacity Act has been put in place to ensure that those people who are unable to make decisions for themselves are protected. You can read more about the Mental Capacity Act.

If my son/daughter and I disagree about which options to choose,  who can help them communicate what they want and make sure it happens?

As part of the transition process, the care manager will work with your son/daughter and you to explore the options available.  If you do not agree with the outcome of the assessment and support planning process then you would be able to discuss this with the relevant manager within Adult Social Care Services, or make a formal complaint.  Independent Advocacy support may also be an option if required.

What is the assessment process for young people who have a special educational needs when they leave school?

This process can be referred to as a Section 139A assessment/ Learning Disability/Learning Difficulty assessment.

This is an assessment to help a young person  aged 16 to 25 years who has significant special  educational needs (usually they will have a statement of special educational needs) to plan their transition from school to the next phase of education or training.

It is to ensure they have an educational or training placement that can meet their needs, which will be described in a transition plan. The timing of this assessment will depend on when a young person is due to leave school (usually 16 or 19 yrs).

The assessment will be discussed at the young person’s Annual Review in the school and will start about a year before they leave school to make sure there is time to plan. The parents will be involved in this assessment.

The assessment is  carried out by the Poole Special Educational Needs Team.

The school will also help give information, advice and guidance to young people with SEN  approaching leaving school

How will benefits change for my son or daughter at 16, 17, 18, and 19 years, and will there be change to my benefits?

There are changes to certain disability benefits, and you can find out more by visiting the GOV.UK website.

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I want to know about Adult Social Care

What social care help can my son or daughter get as an adult?

The care and support that will be offered to adults through Adult Social Care will be dependant on a full assessment of need being completed and whether the needs identified are at a level to meet the Fair Access to Care Services criteria  

How do these criteria differ from those of children's social care?

Childcare criteria is based on a young person being 'Child in Need' under section 17 Children Act 1989.  Adult Social Care criteria is based on Fair Access to Care Services.

If my child is likely to get less help from social care as an adult (due to difference in adult and children`s services criteria), what services are available to fill the gaps?

Each young persons needs are assessed individually and from that assessment, a care manager would be discussing the services that might be available to meet the young Persons needs.

Some of those services may be universal community services or others may be provided through a Personal Budget as a commissioned service arranged by the Borough of Poole, or by way of a Direct Payment.

The adult assessment of need process: when it will start, how long it will take, what they will need to know?

For every young person identified as potentially requiring support after the age of 18 the formal assessment process will start 6 months before their 18th birthday, although Adult workers may well have been involved prior to this time. This will be completed 3 months prior to them turning 18.  Everyone linked with that young person will be involved with the assessment, including the young person where able to. 

It is an opportunity to gather a full picture of the young person, to understand who they are, their needs and aspirations and what support they are likely to need once they become 18. 

This assessment also includes a carers assessment which can be completed individually either by an adult social worker, or a carers officer.

What is the process to manage any transition from child to adult services?

A transitions group meets on a bi-monthly basis, and identifies every young person with a disability who may require support beyond the age of 18.  If they have an allocated child care worker a referral form is completed and it is then agreed which adult team is best placed to take this forward.

The adult worker will then make contact with the child care worker, or if there is no childcare worker, the school or family to gather further information. Where possible the adult worker will make contact with the young person and their family before they reach 16. The formal assessment process will start 6 months prior to the young person’s 18th birthday. 

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My son or daughter has general health needs

Who do I contact to find out about my son or daughter’s transition to adult health care?

You can contact Vivienne Turner, transition nurse, at Poole Hospital on 07813599950. She will be able to answer any of your questions regarding transition.

At what age will my son or daughter start the transition to adult care?

The transition process will start when your son/daughter is 15/16 years of age with an assessment. You will be contacted about this by your paediatrician or by the transition nurse. You can also refer your son/daughter yourself.

Is there a transition process that I can read?

There is a transition information leaflet. This can be found in GP Surgeries; Schools; Children’s Out-Patient Department; and at the Health Resource Centre by Poole Hospital. Your transition nurse can also supply you with one.

Where will the appointment for an assessment take place?

Wherever, is most convenient for you and your son or daughter e.g. at home, at school, in the hospital.

Will there be a change of consultant?

Yes – you will be transferred to an adult consultant according to your main health need and you will have the opportunity to meet with him or her before your transition.

Which ward will my son or daughter go to if he or she is ill and needs to go to hospital?

Your son or daughter will initially go to the same ward whatever the reason for the admission to hospital. Before the transition to adult health care there will be an opportunity to visit the ward and get to know the staff.

What part will my GP play once my son/daughter has transitioned to adult health care?

Your GP will have been kept informed of all your son’s/daughter’s health needs by the paediatricians and will become your first port of call for all health needs once your son/daughter has transitioned. It would be beneficial for you to arrange an appointment for you and your son/daughter to see the GP just before transition so that you can feel secure that your GP is aware of any concerns you may have. Your GP will also be responsible for arranging the equipment requirements once your son/daughter has transitioned.

My son or daughter has continuing healthcare funding – what will happen at 18 years?

The Children and Young People’s Continuing Care Manager will begin to discuss the transition process with you when your son/daughter reaches 15/16 years and an adult continuing healthcare assessment will be arranged once they reach 17 years.

If they are eligible as an adult, a care package will be arranged with you through the NHS. If not, then you will be referred to adult social care. The aim is to ensure that the transition process is as smooth as possible. The Children and Young People’s Continuing Care Manager will support you throughout the process. Her contact number is 01202 541482.

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My son or daughter has mental health needs

Who do I contact to find out about my son or daughter’s transition to adult mental health services?

Your local Child and Adolescent Mental health Service (CAMHS) team will be able to inform you of the transition process.

Is there a process to manage transition from child to adult services?

Yes. You can discuss the transition process with your CAMHS worker. There is also a Transition of care and joint working policy that will inform you of the process and it can be accessed via the Trust website

Will there be an assessment and where will it take place?

A review of needs will be conducted to determine if access to a further service is required. If it is likely that the Adult Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) is required, CAMHS staff will start to liaise with CMHT when your son/daughter is 17 ½ and arrange an assessment. The assessment is likely to take place at Alderney Hospital Out Patient Department and both CAMHS and a representative from CMHT will attend the meeting, where a full case history will be taken and the current mental health issues explored.

How will my son or daughter’s mental health needs be met as an adult?

A community key worker may be identified from Adult CMHT to offer support and treatment for your son or daughter.

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I need to know about learning, training and work options

 Where I can find out about the options available for my child?

  • Staying on at school – mainstream or special
  • Further education/Colleges locally (like B&P College, Brockenhurst etc)
  • Specialist day colleges
  • Specialist residential colleges
  • Higher education/university
  • Apprenticeships
  • Work with training
  • Work without training

Schools have a statutory requirement to provide impartial information, advice and guidance to young people (usually called Careers Advice)

Parents and young people who are able can use a web site to find out about options in the area.

Young people who have left school and need information, advice and guidance can contact Poole Young People’s Services.

As for all young people planning for leaving school, parents have a role in visiting potential placements to check they can meet the young person’s needs.

The application process varies according to the type of establishment or service the young person is considering.

Contact details Poole Young People’s Services 01202 262291 or drop in to No 18, 18 Hill St BH15 1NR

What support and funding  will be available for my young adult`s particular needs when they leave school?

Further education establishments can access funding for additional support for young people. The allocation of this funding is linked to the 139a Assessment (Learning difficulty/disability assessment).

How can I access work as a young adult with a disability/additional needs?

The Poole Job Centre have a specialist advisor to advise adults who have a disability.

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I have concerns about transport, and need to know more

At the moment he/she has free school transport - what will happen as an adult?

There is no automatic entitlement for transport as an adult. For young people aged 16 to 19 yrs (can go out to 25yrs in some circumstances) who have a Statement of Special Educational Need who are in education ( not other type of provision eg. adult social care day centre) There can be discretionary help with transport by application to the educational awards team.

If young adults do not qualify for help with transport, who is responsible for transporting them?

Young people can get a discretionary bus pass or use their benefit to pay for bus or taxi.

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My young adult may be living away from home and I need to know more

What are the options if my child already lives away from home at a residential school?

The Poole SEN team will help parents and young people plan for what happens after a residential school as part of the Assessment process LINK to assessment question. The first choice will always be to consider options near to the young person’s home.

What will happen when my child reaches 18 years, if they are currently in care?

Young people who are in care will receive support from their social worker and will have a plan for transition to adulthood.

What about housing in the community?

All young people can receive information and advice on their housing options from Housing Advice team, Housing & Community Services. A young persons housing options in an independent living setting is largely influenced by their income. Many young people’s first experience of independent living is in private rented accommodation with shared facilities, where a tenancy can be held from the age of 18. Some maybe able to access more self-contained housing or low cost home ownership, if their income allows.

The Council holds a register of households requesting to be considered for council or housing association accommodation. Less than 10 percent of households registered are offered accommodation each year, and only if they are able to demonstrate a significant housing need. The majority will never be re-housed. All young people are encouraged to contact a Housing options advisor to identify the most appropriate housing option relevant to their circumstances.

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My young adult may live at home with me and the rest of the family, and I need to know more

What support will be available for me?

If you are undertaking regular and substantial care you are entitled to a carer's assessment.

What support will be available for siblings?

Young carers are children and young people who are the main carers of a sick or disabled parent or sibling. You can read about the advice on the support available for young carers.

Whether short breaks away from the home (respite) will be available so that other family members can receive 1-1 time and holidays

A range of services are available to support people in their caring role.  These can be accessed via a carer's assessment.  Some of the services, such as respite, (also referred to as short-term breaks) are subject to Fair Access to Care Services criteria.

Whether a programme of work, learning and activities can be arranged to fill the week for my young adult

The assessment and support planning process will identify what support is required and what will be provided under Fair Access to Care Services criteria.  This may include support with social, leisure, education and employment related activities that help provide structure during the week, but depending on each person’s assessment the level of support available will differ.

How I can find out all the information I need to decide whether this option is viable for my family?

You can find out more via the My Life My Care website.

Who is responsible for regularly reviewing whether my young adult should be supported to move towards more independence?

If they are in receipt of services or support from Adult Social Care Services then your allocated care manager will as part of each scheduled review talk to your son/daughter about moving towards more independence.  Information and advice from parents and other people close to the young adult will be sought as appropriate to help make the best decision for the future.

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My young adult will need leisure activities and a social life if they are living at home, independently or in supported accommodation

What activities and leisure opportunities are available for adults with additional needs?

There are a wide range of social, leisure, learning and employment opportunities available for young adults.  Some of these are called Universal Services, which means they are open for anyone to access. 

Some the young adult will need to pay for themselves and some they may be able to get support with accessing following their social care assessment if eligible for support under Fair Access to Care Services criteria.

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