The contents of a ‘transition plan’ is not defined in law, but in many cases it will represent the best way of meeting the broader duties around transition. Transferring from children’s to adult services will, for some young carers moving to adulthood, be a process that takes months or years to fully implement. Therefore a plan will provide clarity to everyone (including the young carer) of which services and professionals will be supporting them during this process and other resources where they can receive support. If there are plans for more than one member of the family, they should be developed in a coordinated way.
- involve young carers so that they are in control of the support they need
- prioritise their wellbeing
- improve their links with family, friends and the community in which they live.
The guiding principle in developing a plan is that the process should be person-centred and person-led.
To ensure a smooth transition to adult care and support, local authorities must cooperate with relevant partners, including GP practices, housing and educational providers. This duty is reciprocal and is an explicit requirement (Care Act 2014, section 6(6)(C). To develop effective plans for young carers, local authorities should consider formally designating a named person to coordinate transition assessment and planning across different agencies. (Further direction on the continuity of care particularly between agencies and local authorities can be found in the Care Act statutory guidance. ) Young carers are also likely to benefit from support from an independent support service for young carers and young adult carers during the assessment process.
A transition plan does not have to be a separate document but it should be made in agreement with the young carer. The plan must be flexible so that adjustments can be made at a later stage and there are opportunities for creative solutions to be developed with the young carer. In some cases the plan could form part of the assessment and be reviewed periodically as with any other assessment. As with everyone else, young carers may well change their plans and want to revise their options. In some instances their personal or family circumstances may change. When this occurs the transition plan can be updated and refined without having to conduct a new assessment of the individual.
If a young carer decides to go on to higher education, it will be particularly important to notify the institute’s student support service of the young carer’s situation and caring role so that appropriate support can be put in place. In such circumstances, a written transition plan that can be shared with the college or university support services will be useful.
Emma is now 18. She has needed to be regularly reminded of making use of the arrangements that were made in her carer plan around taking a break from caring by staying with extended family. This has resulted in Emma, by her own choice, now living with her grandmother. Emma no longer lives with the pressure of conflictual family dynamics. Emma and her grandmother live very close to Emma’s mother so Emma maintains some caring responsibility for her mother but this will become increasingly age appropriate.
Emma attends college and although her attendance is sometimes intermittent, she is supported by staff who are aware of issues that affect her, for example at times she experiences poor mental health. Emma now has a career plan and is working towards reaching her goal of becoming a paramedic. She knows how to access support from adult mental health services if her depression becomes evident and has demonstrated the capacity and inclination to do this previously without the case worker’s support, through her GP.
A personal budget has been assigned to help her purchase activities that would support her wellbeing while continuing to care.