Transition in the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to assess young carers before they turn 18, so that they have the information they need to plan for their future. This is referred to as a transition assessment.

Local authorities must conduct this transition assessment for a young carer where it appears that the carer is likely to have needs for support after they turn 18 and where they think that there would be ‘significant benefit’ to the carer in carrying out the assessment (see below).

On the basis of a transition assessment, local authorities must give an indication of whether the young carer is likely to have eligible needs for support under the adult statute. They must also give advice and information about what can be done to meet those eligible needs, and what can be done to prevent or delay the development of needs.

Section 96 of the Children and Families Act 2014 introduces new rights for young carers (inserted into the Children Act 1989) to improve how young carers and their families are identified and supported. From April 2015, all young carers will be entitled to an assessment of their needs from the local authority. This new provision works alongside measures in the Care Act 2014 for assessing adults to enable a ‘whole-family approach

to providing assessment and support: both the Care Act and the Children and Families Act include provision that assessment can be joint.

Where a young carer is caring for a child rather than an adult (for example a younger sibling) when they approach 18, they will be eligible for assessment and support under section 1(2) of the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995.  

A whole-family approach means making sure that any assessment takes into account and evaluates how the needs of the person being cared for impact on the needs of the child who is identified as a possible young carer, or on any other member of the household. This approach also allows the local authority to combine a young carer’s needs assessment with any other assessment in relation to the young carer, the person being cared for or another member of the young carer’s family.

The Department of Health has published good practice guidance on whole-family approaches to assessment. [2]

The provisions for young carers included in the Care Act 2014 link with provisions in the Children and Families Act 2014 to provide a clear framework for local authorities to take a whole-family approach to assessing and supporting adults and young carers and deliver support in a coordinated way.

It is the responsibility of councils to coordinate the support of those who have been using children’s or transition services with the support provided by adult services. Examples from good practice suggest that the willingness of services such as social care, education, housing, employment and health to work together with families can make a difference to the future of young carers.