‘Supporting disabled young people from adolescence to adulthood’


What Is Transition?

Professionals use the term ‘transition’ to describe the time in young people’s lives when they are moving toward adulthood and need to think about opportunities after they turn 18.

Transition begins when a young person reaches the age of 14, and ends when the young person has planned what to do next and moved on from school.


Why Is It Important To Start Thinking About Transition?

Families with disabled children often face additional challenges that may delay or limit the young person’s move towards independence. For any young person, with or without a disability, the process of growing up involves the gradual taking on of more and more responsibility for themselves.

Although this can be an exciting time, it is a challenge for any teenager, but for disabled young people and their families the move can seem particularly daunting.

Making sure that the changes involved in the transition process run smoothly is important for all concerned. Being a teenager should be a time of opportunity for young people and should be a positive experience as they take steps towards adulthood.

Kent County Council’s Transition Protocols

KCC has produced the following documents to help guide a young person and their family through these changes. They explain the different stages for the transition process and set out some of the things that young people, parents and carers can expect to happen and how they can be involved in all decision making processes.

The Move To Adulthood – Planning For The Future


Where To Go For Help ?

Children’s Social Services have responsibilities and contributions to the transition process. Part of this is:

  • To negotiate the involvement of, and eventual transfer to, Kent Adult Services.
  • To make sure there is a ‘seamless service’ which will both meet, need and ease the transition from child to adulthood.

Parents often face challenges or problems in supporting and preparing their children for an independent adult life and the transition to financial independence and independent living is not usually a single event.

Speak to your Social Worker about how they can help you manage the transition process, to ensure it happens as smoothly and stress free as possible.

Direct Payments During Transition

In some cases the young disabled person at age 16 or 17 may wish, as part of the transition to adulthood, to take control of part or all of the direct payments that have to date been managed by the person with parental responsibility. This can allow them to gain experience of managing direct payments in a gradual way prior to reaching adulthood.

Disabled 16 and 17-year-olds are entitled to take advantage of the flexibility of direct payments where this will safeguard and promote their welfare. Direct payments enable them to make more decisions for themselves and to provide opportunities for them to have more control over their lives.

Moving Towards Independence

A way to develop a young person’s ability to manage the direct payment can be to put in place transitional arrangements, initially set up with the young person managing only a proportion of their support with direct payments. This proportion could increase as the young person matures, with the objective of full management of the support package at age 18.

 Young disabled people may receive assistance with managing the direct payments, just as any other direct payment recipient may do. Where that assistance takes the form of a user-controlled trust or similar arrangement, it should be set up in the knowledge of the views of those people with parental responsibility. Their ability to express their views should not be undermined by the arrangement.

For more information about young people being involved with the management of their Direct Payment, please speak to you Support Worker, or visit:

The Transition Information Network (www.transitioninfonetwork.org.uk)

Contact a Family (http://www.cafamily.org.uk/know-your-rights/disabled-childrens-services/moving-into-adult-services/)

Direct Payments in Transition

A young person will now follow KCC’s Lifespan Pathway.  This should mean continuity of support throughout their life.  Up to 16  a child will be supported by Children’s Services 0-15 teams, then at the age of 16 they will move to a 16-25 Transition team, before moving to Adult Services at 26.  The young person’s Social Worker will arrange the transfer to the 16-25 team and carry out any review which may be required.  For more information about how your child’s Direct Payment may be affected after they turn 16 and to ensure a smooth transfer at that point, please speak to you Social Worker.

Due to legislative requirements, the young person will need to receive a financial assessment just before their 18th birthday to determine whether they need to make a financial contribution towards their care after the age of 18.  This process is instigated by the young person’s Social Worker.

It will be important for councils to recognise and respect the views of parents who have been managing the delivery of support for their child in setting in place any new arrangements once the young person reaches 18.

There may be situations where a parent has been receiving direct payments to meet the assessed needs of their child.   As the young person approaches the age of 18, they should receive a Mental Capacity Assessment to determine whether they have the capacity to consent to receive, or to manage, a Direct Payment.   If the young person does not have the requisite mental capacity  then it will often be appropriate for the person with parental responsibility to continue to receive the direct payments for the young adult  in the role of a ‘suitable person’.   This will ensure continuity of care for the young person, through arrangements made by the person who is likely to be best placed to understand their needs and preferences, however, direct payments to the person who had parental responsibility can only continue in this way with that person’s consent.  Councils should ensure that they make appropriate arrangements to prepare for transition so that, whether or not support is provided through direct payments, there is no disruption to the provision of support.

The Direct Payment Case Worker will work in partnership with the Social Worker/Care Manager to ensure that there is no break in the Direct Payment funding.