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Preparing for adulthood pathway – journey from birth to 25 years.

Preparing for adulthood

This pathway is a joint approach by adults, children social care and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Assessment and Planning Team.

Preparing for adulthood can help:

  • plan support and give advice to help you prepare for adult life.

  • if you are likely to have social care and support needs as an adult.

  • detail moving from children to adult care and support.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to moving into adulthood. It will look at your personal hopes, care and support needs.

How can I be helped to prepare for adult life?

There are lots of things that can help you in everyday situations. The support provided will be step by step and at a time when you are ready.

We can encourage & support you to:

  • Try new things
  • Travel independently
  • Make your own decisions
  • Use technology as a tool for support
  • Develop positive habits, skills & routines
  • Complete tasks (such as making a cup of tea) on your own
  • Make friends and develop relationships
  • Access community activities

What is the Preparing for Adulthood pathway?

The Preparing for Adulthood pathway is about coordinated planning for your adult life.  It is important to everyone involved in your support that they:

  • Help you to become more independent

  • Work well with other teams to provide the advice, guidance and support you need.  This will include agreeing a plan between education and social care.

  • Can understand and communicate what their role is.

What are the key steps?

Support for all children and young people who are in contact with the council should:

  • Help you to be as independent as possible, at the earliest stage as possible.

  • Help look at your needs and aspirations.  This could be in relation to social care, education or access to employment.

  • Fully prepare you for adulthood before your 18th birthday.

If you are already known to social care:

  • Your social worker will refer you to the adult service around the age of 14 years; and

  • Make an assessment against the adult eligibility criteria within your 16th year. 

If you are eligible for support: 

This will be identified, agreed and planned to start from your 18th birthday. 

If you are unknown to social care and this pathway is relevant:

Please see our accessing support page for more information on getting an assessment.

Preparing for Adulthood - Birth to 14 years

Preparing for adulthood

Preparation for adulthood starts from birth. For social care, the journey starts as soon as you become known to social care. From the day you enter their service, they will work with you and your family on your independence. They will look at supporting you to do things, rather than doing them for you.

How can my children's social care practitioner help me prepare for adulthood?

This may include:

  • Conversations with you and your carers/parents around your aspirations for the future. They will document this.

  • Working with your parents/family/carers to maximise your independence. Focusing on skills at home and in the local community. This will be at an appropriate development stage of your life. It will look at your everyday life, appropriate risk-taking and aspirational outcomes.

  • Track success of placements/support providers in maximising independence and preparing for adulthood. Provide support/constructive challenge to schools and parents to do the same.

  • Consider eligibility for Children’s Continuing Care. Discuss with health colleagues as appropriate.

  • Provide required information for your Education Health and Care Plan. Take part in reviews as appropriate, documenting the reason if not possible to attend.

  • If you do not have an Education Health and Care Plan but felt this would be of benefit, make a referral to the SEND team.

How can the SEND team help me prepare for adulthood?

They can provide support through the Education Health and Care Plan process. This may include:

  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.  Work with the social care practitioner if you have one. This will prevent the re-telling of information that is already known.

  • Education health and Care Plans - preparing for adulthood. Make sure aspirational and SMART outcomes are set on developing independence.

  • Meeting SEND Regulation requirements. Get care (and health) information in the Education Health and Care Plan. Ensure it is appropriate.

  • Annual reviews. Track progress towards achieving outcomes. Challenge placements where expected progress is not made.

  • End of year 8 review - future reviews. Tell those involved about the emphasis on preparing for adulthood . This will start at the next year 9 review meeting. Preparing for adulthood applies to all whether you are eligible for this pathway or not.

  • Keeping in line with Staffordshire County Council standards and statutory requirements. Take to SEND management where this in not the case.

  • Encourage schools to appropriately invite social care to engage with the EHCP review. This will be where there is evidence of a likely need to do so. Follow up with social care, where this isn’t happening.

  • Education Health and Care Plan review process. Highlight where actions to support delivery of agreed outcomes are not taken by schools.  Agree how to improve moving forward or to escalate where the placement is not working.

  • Encourage any practical intervention that will help you to prepare for adulthood. For example, travel training, personal care skills at home.

Preparing for adulthood - Age 14, Year 9

Preparing for adulthood

When you are in Year 9, the following will be considered:

  • how to develop your skills to prepare for adulthood. This will need to be a partnership approach.

  • If you are likely to need adult social care. If so, your children's practitioner will make a referral.

Your children's practitioner will talk to you and your family/carers about: 

  • preparing for adulthood

  • discuss aspirations.

  • what it might mean for your parents/carers when you become an adult. In particular:
    1. How the parental role and carers role may change

    2. Role in decision making

    3. Rights and responsibilities

    4. Mental Capacity;

    5. Safeguarding;

    6. Money – Benefits, Motability Scheme, Tax Credits, Financial Contributions to social care.

    7. Support for Carers

    8. Others who can offer advice, information and support. 

Develop a plan of support

The plan will encourage the development of skills for an independent adulthood. It contributes towards the achievement of outcomes agreed in your Education Health and Care Plan.

How can the SEND team help me prepare for adulthood?

They can provide support through the Education Health and Care Plan process. This may include:

  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.  Work with the social care practitioner if you have one. This will prevent the re-telling of information that is already known.

  • Education health and Care Plans - preparing for adulthood. Make sure aspirational and SMART outcomes are set on developing independence.

  • Meeting SEND Regulation requirements. Get care (and health) information in the Education Health and Care Plan. Ensure it is appropriate.

  • Annual reviews. Track progress towards achieving outcomes. Challenge placements where expected progress is not made.

  • Tell those involved in annual reviews about the emphasis on preparing for adulthood. 

  • Keeping in line with Staffordshire County Council standards and statutory requirements. Take to SEND management where this in not the case.

  • Encourage schools to appropriately invite social care to engage with the EHCP review. This will be where there is evidence of a likely need to do so. Follow up with social care, where this isn’t happening.

  • Education Health and Care Plan review process. Highlight where actions to support delivery of agreed outcomes are not taken by schools.  Agree how to improve moving forward or to escalate where the placement is not working.

  • Encourage any practical intervention that will help you to prepare for adulthood. For example, travel training, personal care skills at home.

Adult assessment - 16 years, Year 11

Planning for adulthood

In your 16th year, the adult’s assessment will be completed. 

How will the assessment work?

Assessments will be coordinated. Adult’s workers will liaise with allocated children’s social workers. This will prevent the risk of you having to repeat your stories.

Your children’s social work team will still be the lead. They will continue to complete the relevant children’s assessments and planning. Both teams will follow the preparing for adulthood principle.

What happens if I'm eligible?

If you have eligible needs, children or adult social care practitioners will:

  1. Consider support required to meet high level outcomes. If the community can meet these now, signpost as appropriate.

  2. Consider the likelihood of securing an appropriate service at 18. Would this be a difficulty due to the level of need? If so, raise issues with the relevant commissioner now.

  3. Discuss what types of support might be available to an adult with similar eligible needs to yours. This will be discussed with you and your family/carer.

  4. Tell you and your family about financial contributions and the financial assessment. You may need to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care.

  5. Consider completing Mental Capacity Act Assessments. This relates to any decisions related to care when an adult if required.

  6. Consider making referrals to relevant teams and agencies for provision post-18. Continuing health care for example.

How can the SEND team help me prepare for adulthood?

They can provide support through the Education Health and Care Plan process. This may include:

  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.  Work with the social care practitioner if you have one. This will prevent the re-telling of information that is already known.

  • Education health and Care Plans - preparing for adulthood. Make sure aspirational and SMART outcomes are set on developing independence.

  • Meeting SEND Regulation requirements. Get care (and health) information in the Education Health and Care Plan. Ensure it is appropriate.

  • Annual reviews. Track progress towards achieving outcomes. Challenge placements where expected progress is not made.

  • Tell those involved in annual reviews about the emphasis on preparing for adulthood.

  • Mental capacity assessment, age 16. If it is unclear about mental capacity, complete a mental capacity assessment. This will look at your capacity to make specific decisions about your future. They will make sure you are involved in this process. Any action taken on your behalf must be in your best interest. It must be in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005

  • Keeping in line with Staffordshire County Council standards and statutory requirements. Take to SEND management where this in not the case.

  • Encourage schools to appropriately invite social care to engage with the EHCP review. This will be where there is evidence of a likely need to do so. Follow up with social care, where this isn’t happening.

  • Education Health and Care Plan review process. Highlight where actions to support delivery of agreed outcomes are not taken by schools.  Agree how to improve moving forward or to escalate where the placement is not working.

  • Encourage any practical intervention that will help you to prepare for adulthood. For example, travel training, personal care skills at home.

Planning for Adulthood - Age 17, Year 12

Planning for adulthood

In your 17th year, detailed plans will be developed for the physical move to adult services (where appropriate). Adult support should be in place ready to start on your 18th birthday.

How can the SEND team help me prepare for adulthood?

They can provide support through the Education Health and Care Plan process. This may include:

  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.  Work with the social care practitioner if you have one. This will prevent the re-telling of information that is already known.

  • Education health and Care Plans - preparing for adulthood. Make sure aspirational and SMART outcomes are set on developing independence.

  • Meeting SEND Regulation requirements. Get care (and health) information in the Education Health and Care Plan. Ensure it is appropriate.

  • Annual reviews. Track progress towards achieving outcomes. Challenge placements where expected progress is not made.

  • Tell those involved in annual reviews about the emphasis on preparing for adulthood.

  • Mental capacity assessment, age 16. If it is unclear about mental capacity, complete a mental capacity assessment. This will look at your capacity to make specific decisions about your future. They will make sure you are involved in this process. Any action taken on your behalf must be in your best interest. It must be in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

  • Keeping in line with Staffordshire County Council standards and statutory requirements. Take to SEND management where this in not the case.

  • Encourage schools to appropriately invite social care to engage with the EHCP review. This will be where there is evidence of a likely need to do so. Follow up with social care, where this isn’t happening.

  • Education Health and Care Plan review process. Highlight where actions to support delivery of agreed outcomes are not taken by schools.  Agree how to improve moving forward or to escalate where the placement is not working.

  • Encourage any practical intervention that will help you to prepare for adulthood. For example, travel training, personal care skills at home.

Age 18-25 years

Preparing for adulthood

At the age of 18, adult social care provision will begin.

What will my adult practitioner do?

  1. Review your support after 6 weeks, then thereafter once a year. Make changes to your support plan if needed.

  2. Education Health and Care Plan Review Meeting. Attend review meetings where possible to highlight what they can offer. They will continue to coordinate your support plan with the joint agreed outcomes. They will note whether they attended the review meeting or not. Year 14, when you are 19/20 years old is a key year to talk about placements for when you are 21.

  3. Work with the SEND team when decisions on educational placements are being made.

  4. If at point of review you no longer need support from adult social care, they will:

    1. Provide information, advice and guidance to you and your family.  Inform the SEND Team and Throughcare Personal Advisor, if you have one.

    2. End involvement.

What happens when I am 25, or leave education?

You will move from the preparing for adulthood pathway to an adult social care team.

How can the SEND team help me prepare for adulthood?

They can provide support through the Education Health and Care Plan process. This may include:

  • Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.  Work with the social care practitioner if you have one. This will prevent the re-telling of information that is already known.

  • Education health and Care Plans - preparing for adulthood. Make sure aspirational and SMART outcomes are set on developing independence.

  • Meeting SEND Regulation requirements. Get care (and health) information in the Education Health and Care Plan. Ensure it is appropriate.

  • Annual reviews. Track progress towards achieving outcomes. Challenge placements where expected progress is not made.

  • Tell those involved in annual reviews about the emphasis on preparing for adulthood.

  • Mental capacity assessment, age 16. If it is unclear about mental capacity, complete a mental capacity assessment. This will look at your capacity to make specific decisions about your future. They will make sure you are involved in this process. Any action taken on your behalf must be in your best interest. It must be in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

  • Keeping in line with Staffordshire County Council standards and statutory requirements. Take to SEND management where this in not the case.

  • Encourage schools to appropriately invite social care to engage with the EHCP review. This will be where there is evidence of a likely need to do so. Follow up with social care, where this isn’t happening.

  • Education Health and Care Plan review process. Highlight where actions to support delivery of agreed outcomes are not taken by schools.  Agree how to improve moving forward or to escalate where the placement is not working.

  • Encourage any practical intervention that will help you to prepare for adulthood. For example, travel training, personal care skills at home.