Timing of a transition assessment
The years approaching adulthood are a time when there are many changes taking place in young people’s lives and these changes include opportunities to consider their own future. Many young carers in transition will be starting to consider their future education and career options and how caring will affect their own aspirations. It is therefore important to identify young carers as early as possible and to involve them in their transition assessment and plans.
The Care Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to conduct a transition assessment when it will be of ‘significant benefit’ to the person to do so. Significant benefit relates to the timing when the young person is ready to have an assessment and will get the most out of the process. Working with a young carer to prepare them for their transition assessment is important, particularly when they are considering options at school/college or if there are particular pressures at home.
Factors to consider when arranging an assessment include:
- the stage reached at school (such as selecting options for exam subjects)
- whether they wish to enter higher/further education
- options for employment/apprenticeship
- the levels and kinds of care they are providing and to whom
- the levels and kinds of care they are willing or not to continue or begin to provide
- plans to move out of the parental/family home
- the length of time it will take to conduct an assessment and to develop a support plan (in light of the need to make sure that plans are in good time for the actual transition)
- planned medical treatment
- relevant family circumstances.
Initially on meeting with her Barnardo’s project worker, Emma found it difficult to talk to her and tried to avoid engaging in any kind of conversation. However, over a period of time, Emma built up a relationship with her project worker and began to talk and explore her feelings about being a young carer. Throughout her involvement with Barnardo’s, Emma’s views have been represented by her project worker at professional meetings.
Work was completed with Emma at Barnardo’s around nutrition and healthy eating and sessions were held to help her to develop strategies to understand and manage her mood. She described these practical sessions as being more helpful than those at CAMHS, which focused more on talking therapy. Emma was also involved in a girls’ gym group with other young carers supported by Barnardo’s. She continued to attend this group on and off for three years, and developed positive relationships with the other young women who attended.
Emma was behind academically. There was a lot of extra support in place to enable her to return to school; however, Emma never did return to mainstream education. The service supported Emma to access opportunities to develop skills that she could utilise in the future so that caring for a family member did not become her ‘career’, particularly since she missed out on much of her formal secondary education.