Transition from children to adult social care services

By Zach Esdaile 2 years ago


Background


When a child/young person becomes 18 years the main statutory provision is the Care Act 2014.There is now a duty for local authorities to anticipate when children will require services under the Care Act and to conduct assessments for this purpose before a child transitions to being an adult at 18 years. Just in case this does not occur the support that a child receives under an existing child care plan will not automatically cease when a child reaches the age of 18. It should only cease when a meaningful assessment for transition has taken place.This is a key protection provided by the Care Act 2014. An assessment for transition must happen before and when it is of significant benefit to do so.
The new Care Act 2014 comes into play when a young person transitions from being a child to an adult at eighteen years. The statutory information relevant to the transition between children’s and adult social care is found in sections 58 – 66 of the Care Act 2014; the Care and Support (Children’s Carers) Regulations 2015; Chapter 16 of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. Where it appears to a local authority that a child is likely to have needs for care and support after becoming eighteen years, the authority must, if it is satisfied that it would be of significant benefit to the child, undertake an assessment.


The assessment of the child


The local authority must conduct an assessment for transition of the child when it is likely that they have needs for care and it would be of significant benefit for the child to have an assessment conducted early to determine his or her adult needs. It works best if the child is neither too old nor too young.
The ‘consent condition’ for the assessment is met if a child with capacity consents or if it is in the best interests of an incapacitated child; except that the local authority must always undertake an assessment if it considers that the child is experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.
If the consent condition is met, the local authority will assess: a) whether the child has needs for care and support and, if so, what those needs are, and b) whether the child is likely to have needs for care and support after becoming eighteen years and, if so, what those needs are likely to be.
A local authority must give written reasons for any refusal to undertake a ‘child’s needs assessment’ under this section at the request of a parent or carer (sections 58 (5) – (8)). It is vital to a child’s needs assessment that the local authority does, as required by section 58 (1), assess whether the child currently has needs for care and support and, if so, what those needs are; and whether the child is likely to have needs for care and support after the child turns eighteen years and, if so, what those needs are likely to be. However, a ‘child’s needs assessment’ requires far more than that.


A child’s needs assessment must include an assessment of a) the impact on the matters specified in section 1 (2) of what the child’s needs for care and support are likely to be after the child becomes eighteen years, b) the outcomes that the child wishes to achieve in day-to-day life, and c) whether and to what extent the provision of care and support could contribute to the achievement of those outcomes.
When carrying out a child’s needs assessment, a local authority must also consider whether and to what extent matters other than the provision of care and support could contribute to the achievement of the outcomes that the child wishes to achieve in day-to-day life.


After the assessment


Having carried out a child’s needs assessment, a local authority must give the child: a) an indication as to whether any of the needs for care and support which it thinks the child is likely to have after becoming 18 years are likely to meet the eligibility criteria (and if so, which ones are likely to do so), b) advice and information about what can be done to meet or reduce the needs which it thinks the child is likely to have after becoming 18 years, and c) advice and information about what can be done to prevent or delay the development by the child of needs for care and support in the future.


The carer’s assessment


A ‘child’s carer’ is an adult (including one who is a parent of the child) who provides or intends to provide care for the child, usually when that is otherwise than under a contract or as voluntary work. The duty to undertake a ‘child’s carer’s assessment’ is found at section 60 of the Care Act 2014 and arises in similar circumstances to the duty to undertake a child’s transitional assessment. It is a fundamental requirement, imposed by section 60 (1), that a child’s carer’s assessment assesses whether the carer is likely to have needs for support after the child becomes 18 years and, if so, what those needs are likely to be.
A ‘young carer’ is ‘a person under 18 years who provides or intends to provide care for an adult’, usually otherwise than under a contract or as voluntary work. The duty to undertake a ‘young carer’s assessment’ arises when it appears that a young carer is likely to have needs for support after turning 18 years and the local authority is satisfied that it would be of significant benefit to the young carer to undertake an assessment. The assessment is of whether the young carer is likely to have needs for support after turning 18 years and, if so, what those needs are likely to be (section 63 (1)).

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