Practical Legal Advice from a
Specialist Education Law Solicitor

0333 772 9763
0773 666 9961

Transitions

Moving from Child to Adult Services

The transition from Children’s to Adult Services, whether health or education, are often fraught with difficulties. Meetings that seem to go nowhere, a lack of communication between anyone, inaction and confusion are the most common problems. It can be exhausting, frustrating and overwhelming. It is also extremely complicated for many families.

The changes in law, Young People’s legal status and organisational structures can be baffling.

The law recognises how important it is to get this part of planning right, and that obligation then passes to local agencies. It is just that in practice the transition does not always feel that smooth. This transition is so important for the future well-being of young people that getting it right is critical.

The SEN Code 2014 and legislation are very keen on being future focused. Life skills as well as education are discussed and the responsibility for making good robust plans for any child with an EHCP is set out. In Year 9 planning should start at the annual review. School should lead the review but the input from parents and children is recognised as being essential. Other agencies need to be involved.

Plans should look at education and training, future independent living skills, community engagement, promoting a sense of self-worth. Employment opportunities should be considered and what services could help support future planning.

Direct engagement with young people is important, as is taking account of carer’s views. Decision making if there are any issues in respect of capacity and the use of independent advocates are all very important.

Well that is the theory anyway.

The new legislation has very commendable aims, but how this will work in practice remains to be seen. Navigating the complexity of the transitions process, knowing how to ensure that the various people involved are all moving in the same direction will be a challenge.

Having an expert view of the interconnecting law, guidance and regulations enables me to help ensure that the right services are engaged, that assessments are undertaken properly and that young people and carers rights are protected.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 may also be relevant for some young people. After their 16th birthday a capacity assessment may be required. The presumption is that everyone has capacity to make their own choices, unless assesses otherwise. If a person lacks capacity then decisions made on their behalf must be in their Best Interests. Capacity can fluctuate, a person may have capacity to make a decision one day, but the following day may not be able to make the same decision. Capacity may vary depending on the complexity of the choice to be made.

I have a particular expertise in dealing with transitions and can advise and assist you to:-

  • Understand the relevant law and guidance that underpins the process
  • Ensure that relevant professionals are included and appreciate the importance of their roles
  • Make certain that the views of parents and carers are heard, recognised and recorded
  • Facilitate the engagement of the young person themselves directly or by an advocacy service
  • Look at the roles of the individual agencies to make sure that plans are holistic and provide for a smooth transition
  • From Year 9, if there is an EHCP in place, make sure that every Review is purposeful and effective

 For help about reviews, assessments, eligibility and finding a way forward, give me a call for a free initial consultation.