Transition of young carers

If a transition assessment of a young carer is completed before they reach the point of transition, there should not be a gap in the provision of care and support.

The Care Act 2014 provides continuity for a situation where a young person is receiving children’s services but a transition assessment has not been conducted where it should have been (i.e. because there are likely needs for support as an adult). Services provided under children’s legislation must continue until adult services have a plan in place or ‘relevant steps have been taken’ (see below).

The statutory guidance on the Care Act 2014 states:

The 'relevant steps' are if the local authority:

  • concludes that the person does not have needs for adult care and support; or
  • concludes that the person does have such needs and begins to meet some or all of them (the local authority will not always meet all of a person’s needs – certain needs are sometimes met by carers or other organisations); or
  • concludes that the person does have such needs but decides they are not going to meet any of those needs (for instance, because their needs do not meet the eligibility criteria under the Care Act 2014).

In order to reach such a conclusion, the local authority must have conducted a transition assessment (that they will use as a needs or carer’s assessment under the adult statute). Where a transition assessment was not conducted and should have been (or where the young person’s circumstances have changed), the local authority must carry out an adult needs or carer’s assessment. [11]

Obviously, such a scenario where there is insufficient information to make a decision, is not in the interests of the local authority or the young carer, and should be avoided wherever possible. However, local authorities should be clear on the division of responsibility, including budgetary responsibility, where this situation does arise. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) are currently developing a Memorandum of Understanding for the alignment of social services responsibility more broadly, which will include suggestions for local policies around this.

Where a carer is not eligible for care and support needs for themselves or no longer wishes to care for a person when they become 18, local authorities must provide appropriate information and advice on where to access alternative support if they require it either now or in the future.

Emma’s story

Barnardo's has given me a strong understanding of participation. For it to work, it had to begin with me taking steps to make decisions about my life and then slowly increasing … it takes time … no quick fixes! We [practitioners and young carers] need to listen to each other, take other people’s opinions into consideration, respect our differences, otherwise it will never work, fall apart and we’d just get nowhere. On the surface it may look like we as young people are participating … but is it really making a difference? … I believe for me it has … I am sure all of you [case workers] do take on board how much participation means to young people … Don’t just go through the process [of participation] and make it look like it is … otherwise we won’t see the point. We need to work together so that we get the best results.