Transition is the move away from children’s health and support services and towards adult service provision.

The Care Act places a duty on local authorities to carry out a transition assessment for young people if they are likely to have needs once they turn 18. This also applies to young carers and carers whose children are nearing age 18.

The assessment can be carried out by either adult’s or children’s services and can take place between ages 14 and 18, when there is ‘significant benefit’ to the young person in doing this at a certain time. It must be carried out in time to allow plans to be put in place for support.

A young person or carer (or somebody acting on their behalf) has the right to request an assessment at any time and also can refuse a transition assessment provided that the person has capacity to make this decision and the local authority are satisfied that there is no risk of abuse or neglect if an assessment does not go ahead.

The assessment must take account of the following things:

  • current needs for care and support and how these impact on wellbeing
  • whether the young person or carer is likely to have needs for care and support after the young person in question becomes 18
  • if so, what those needs are likely to be, and which are likely to be eligible needs
  • the outcomes the young person or carer wishes to achieve in day-to- day life and how care and support can contribute to achieving them.

By the time a young person reaches their 18th birthday they should have an adult care and support plan already in place. If not, and if they have not had a transition assessment, then they must continue to be supported by Children’s Services until adult care and support is in place. If a young person has complex needs, then the local authority is able to make a decision that children’s services will continue to provide support after the person turns 18.

The Children and Families Act 2014 works with the Care Act 2014 to set out a system for post-18 young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This covers a person from birth until age 25 through the use of Education Health and Care (EHC) plans. There is a single planning and assessment process for children and young people with SEND.

If a young person has an EHC plan, then their social care must take account of this. The adult services care plan will form the basis of the care and support aspect of the EHC plan, and care and support services will be provided under the Care Act.