- Getting the transition to adulthood and adult services right for people with learning disabilities has proved stubbornly problematic for many years, and people with learning disabilities have been disadvantaged as a result.
- Aligning multi-agency systems in both children’s and adults’ services poses genuine challenges, but these can be worsened by a lack of integration, risk-averse organisations and funding pressures.
- Social workers have an important role to play in making transitions work better: they are well-placed to help young people and their families navigate these systems, and aspire to and achieve a good quality adult life.
To do this, social workers need:
- the right support, systems and commissioning
- an understanding of social care law, social work theories and adolescent development
- a commitment to human rights, and the confidence to apply this
- the ability to work effectively in multi-agency settings
- a focus on each person they support – what they want, what their family wants and what the social worker can do to support them to achieve their goals.
- With this framework of things in place, social workers can play their part in preparing young people for adulthood successfully.