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Transition from children’s to adult services

When we talk about transition, we’re talking about young people with learning disabilities making the move from children’s services to adult social care services.  At Hft we do this by ensuring the focus is on empowering choice within the individual who is going through this phase of their lives.

Transition is an important time, as it comes at a point in a young person’s life when they will also need to think about the outcomes they want to achieve, such as continuing their education, or getting work experience and finding a job, to decisions like where they want to live and who they might like to live with. These decisions will help shape their future, which is why all of the choices that are available should be made accessible for each individual.

For some people, this will also be a challenging time, as it can involve quite a lot of change. It is therefore important that young people are supported to start thinking about their options at a relatively early stage. Within special education, the transition process usually starts at an individual’s Year 9 review (age 13 or 14). The individual is supported to look at four areas of their life; health, education and employment, community contributions and relationships, and housing. This helps the person to start thinking about the future and get used to adding to their transition plans as the years go on. This information can then be shared with future providers to help, when the actual time comes, with the move into adult services.

How can Hft support young people through the transition process?

Compatibility meetings can help people explore the options available to them.  Meeting people that might become their new friends or roommates, or visiting the various accommodations available can help people work out what would be right for them, and smooth the move towards adult social care.

The key is preparation.  Our skilled support workers will often work with young people for many months prior to their movement to adult support.  This might mean meeting them once a week to build familiarity, introducing them to other members of the staff teams that will be supporting them, and going on visits to their new home.

And in the run up to the move, we support people to meet care managers, visit their college or local Day Opportunities service (if relevant), and visit their new home every few weeks to make sure that everything is in place for them.

Some people find it helpful to go through a series of sleepovers, during which they are encouraged to leave a personal possession behind each time. In this way, the new home can become just ‘home’ with a minimum of disruption – we all associate home as being where our possessions are.  Experience has shown that this can lessen challenging behaviour at the point of transition, making the process easier and the outcomes better for the young person involved.

Advocates, often volunteers, can also be involved in representing the young person’s wishes.  With no vested interests in costs or convenience, an advocate can help to ensure that what the young person wants and needs is kept at the heart of any decisions that are made during the transition process, helping to ensure that the focus stays in the right place.

Easing the transition

We allocate each person a specific member of staff who is responsible for supporting the individual to complete any actions that have been identified within their transition plan, and assist with the bigger actions, for example moving home.

People moving to adult social care come from a variety of different backgrounds, with very different experiences.  Where the person is happy for us to do so, we make sure that family members are included in meetings, and consulted on decisions that need to made regarding where the person involved will live.  We work with people to ensure that they are supported to take advantage of every opportunity, big and small, that comes with the independence of adulthood.

For example, one of the people we support who was coming from a children’s home had never been allowed in the kitchen, but wanted to be able to make himself a cup of tea.  So we installed a one-cup kettle that can dispense a cup of hot water at a time, simplifying the process for him, and boosting his independence in one easy move.

In this small way, the young person involved gained control over something that many of us take for granted.  And transition became something that opened doors for him, rather than being a process with a lot of potential for negative outcomes.

Next steps

Our transition teams are experienced in working with young people to ease their journey into adult social care, and the best life possible.  Please get in touch with your local team to discuss how we can help.