Preparing for Adulthood

What is transition?

Transition means change. For children and young people with a disability, when we talk about transition we mean the change from being a teenager to being an adult, and from moving on from children's care services to adult's care services.

Preparing for Adulthood have produced a leaflet for care workers, who can give it to young people and carers to tell them about the move into adulthood.

Download the Moving On leaflet

During this period, young people can experience changes in lots of areas of their lives. These changes may include:

  • leaving education
  • thinking about starting a job or work experience
  • changes to their state benefits and finances
  • moving into new accommodation
  • changes to health and medical services
  • changes in any social care support
  • changes to personal relationships

It's a time when young people gain new rights and responsibilities. Transition can be an exciting time for young people, full of new opportunities. However it can also be a worrying time as young people move on from familiar people and places and face new challenges.

It is important that young people with disabilities, and their parents and carers plan for transition.

How we plan support

The Education, Health and Care Plan

A young person with a disability and special educational needs will have been receiving support long before they are ready to make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

In September 2014 a new system, known as the Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, was introduced for children and young people up to 25 years old who have special educational needs. This change was made under a new law, the Children and Families Act 2014.

EHC plans will gradually replace the previous system of Statements of Special Educational Needs (SENs). By March 2018 all existing SENs and Learning Disability Assessments will be replaced by an EHC plan providing that the child or young person is eligible for support. Eligibility for an EHC plan is determined by the outcome of the EHC needs assessment which is completed by your local council.

The EHC plan focuses on the child or young person’s educational needs and aims (known as ‘aspired outcomes’), as well as on any health and care needs which they might have.

The government has produced a helpful guide to the impact of the new legislation.

Westminster City Council has also provided information on the new EHC plans and the changes in legislation.

Your local transition service

At the age of 16 a young person who has a disability, and who may already have an EHC plan (or SEN) in place, may start to be supported by the council’s transition team if they have social care needs and are eligible for council support in meeting these needs.

In Westminster, the team works only with young people with learning disabilities. Young people with physical disabilities may be supported by Adult Social Care teams.

The transition teams aim to support a young person with their transition into adulthood by exploring their needs, wishes and circumstances, and helping them to plan for their future. The young person, their family and their carers are encouraged to take an active role throughout this process to ensure they are properly listened to, and are at the centre of planning and decision-making.

The transition service or team is usually made up of both health professionals (such as nurses, psychologists or therapists) and social care professionals (such as social workers and support workers). The team bridges the gap between your council’s Children's Services and their Adult Services departments.

The transition team will first complete an assessment with the young person and their family which will determine whether they have social care needs, and whether they meet the local council’s eligibility criteria to receive support. Find out more about the assessment process through People First.

If the young person is eligible for support following the assessment, the transition team will work with them to try to achieve positive outcomes in up to four different areas: health, employment, community inclusion (getting out and about and having the chance for an active social life) and independent living.

The young person may be supported to achieve these outcomes in different ways, including through provision of the following types of support:

  • accommodation
  • day opportunities
  • employment pathways
  • further educational support
  • respite and other support for the young person’s family or others who help to look after the young person
  • benefits or financial support
  • equipment
  • signposting - information about other services which might be useful
  • re-ablement - support to become more independent 

The transition team can continue to work with the young person up until they reach the age of 25, or sometimes longer, but will end their involvement earlier if the young person’s care arrangements are settled. 

For more information you can contact your local transition

People with learning disabilities only:

Westminster Learning Disability Partnership
Phone: 020 7641 7411
adminwldp@westminster.gov.uk

The support available in your local area

The council provides information on the range of services which are available for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, and their parents and carers. This information is known as the 'local offer' and is something which the council now has to provide by law.

The local offer includes information on services for children, and on services for young adults 'in transition'.

Support in Westminster

Westminster council provides online information explaining the services currently available to children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, as well as to their parents and carers.

Find out more about the support available for young adults

Other information and advice

Preparing for Adulthood offers information and advice which aims to ensure young people with SEN and disabilities have equal life chances as they move into adulthood. The information they provide includes:

  • information on the changes in the law and the new EHC plans
  • information on transition
  • information especially for young people

Mencap provides additional information on what to expect from the transition process.


Last updated: 8 April 2016
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