Robust joint working arrangements between Children’s and Adult Social Care Services need to be put in place to ensure that the medical, psychosocial and vocational needs of children leaving care, children with mental health problems, children with physical disabilities or children with learning disabilities or autism are addressed as they move to adulthood.

The care needs of the young person should be at the forefront of any support planning and require a coordinated multi-agency approach. Assessment of care needs at this stage should include issues of safeguarding and risk. Care planning needs to ensure that the young adult’s safety is not put at risk through delays in providing the services to maintain their independence and well-being and choice.

Good practice includes:

  • Having policies and procedures which support effective transition processes;
  • Shifting the general view of risk as a potential danger for a child, to one of potential opportunity but acknowledging potential risks for an adult;
  • Managing risks as a phased process with awareness of the psychological and emotional issues;
  • Managing family expectations (being clear about the level of support and resources available);
  • Taking time to get to know the young person and their family, especially if they have communication difficulties;
  • Acknowledging the rights of adults to take more responsibility for their decisions.

See also: In Sunderland, a Multi-Agency Preparing for Adulthood Protocol and Pathway has been developed to address the transition to adulthood of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).