Transition assessments under the Care Act 2014

Chapter 16 of the statutory guidance on the Care Act 2014 sets out the requirements of a transition assessment:

The transition assessment should support the young person and their family to plan for the future, by providing them with information about what they can expect. All transition assessments must include an assessment of:

  • current needs for care and support and how these impact on wellbeing;
  • whether the child or carer is likely to have needs for care and support after the child in question becomes 18;
  • if so, what those needs are likely to be, and which are likely to be eligible needs;
  • the outcomes the young person or carer wishes to achieve in day-to-day life and how care and support (and other matters) can contribute to achieving them.

Transition assessments for young carers or adult carers must also specifically consider whether the carer:

  • is able to care now and after the child in question turns 18;
  • is willing to care now and will continue to after 18;
  • works or wishes to do so;
  • is or wishes to participate in education, training or recreation.

The same requirements and principles apply for carrying out transition assessments as for other needs assessments under the adult statute (chapter 6 sets out the requirements and principles for carrying out needs assessments under the adult statute). [5]

The requirements that apply to transition assessments as well as to other Care Act assessments include:

As the statutory guidance also notes:

Some carers may need support in recognising issues around sustainability, and in recognising their own needs. This will allow local authorities to make a realistic evaluation of the carer’s present and future needs for support and whether the caring relationship is sustainable. Where appropriate these views should be sought in a separate conversation independent from the adult’s needs assessment. [6]

Where several agencies are involved in the care and support of a young carer (for example if the young carer has physical and mental health needs), combining multiple assessments will mean that the young carer does not have to give the same information out on a number of different occasions.

In relation to young carers, the transition assessment can be used to pose the difficult questions of: Do you wish to continue caring, and if you do, what needs to happen? What might have to change for you to continue? It will also have to indicate whether the young carer is likely to be eligible for adult social care support.

The advantage of the transition assessment for a young carer is that it allows them and the practitioner to plan for their future and can encourage aspirations. It can also reassure the young person that they are supported and it builds a relationship that in itself can offer a measure of emotional support.

Past experience shows that it is possible, or even likely, that young carers will approach a conversation about preparing for adulthood with the assumption that they will need to continue caring and adjust their expectations accordingly. Conversations about their role as a carer, in the form of a transition assessment, are a key opportunity to challenge such assumptions and encourage young carers to think about how they can fulfil their education and employment potential. It is very important that a young carer’s statements about their desired outcomes are not simply taken at face value, but that practitioners check to make sure that they are not based on the default assumption that current caring responsibilities will need to continue.

A good transition assessment will include a conversation about what the person the young carer looks after could expect in terms of care and support if the young carer were not willing or able to continue. This should be based on a strengths-based approach that looks not only at what formal support might be available to meet eligible needs, but also at the wider support network within the family and beyond. This will not necessarily lead to a young carer choosing an option where they do no caring at all, but may open up a conversation about a reduced role that allows the young carer to pursue education and employment opportunities.

Emma’s story

Emma was supported by Barnardo’s to attend the alternative educational project and a lot of work was completed with her to support her to identify her aspirations. Her project worker completed a transitions assessment with her and her family (including extended family) by holding family group meetings. The transition assessment allowed plans to be made for Emma to have a break from caring and conflictual family dynamics by regularly staying with her grandmother. It also allowed her the opportunity to reflect, and consider that her future may not be one of being a young adult carer.

The Carers Trust has produced a tool for measuring and assessing caring activities. [7]