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Preparing for Adulthood Transition Guide

Last updated: 20 February 2023
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What is Preparing for Adulthood

Preparing for Adulthood (often shortened to PfA) is about planning and taking steps so that young people with SEND can:

  • enjoy independent living as much as possible
  • achieve as much as possible
  • reach their goals, dreams and ambitions in adult life.

Preparing for Adulthood includes preparing for:

  • moving home - to go to higher education and/or independent living. This includes different forms of supported living and housing arrangements.
  • managing money, budgeting, and understanding different forms of benefits the young person might be entitled to.
  • higher education and/or employment including self-employment, voluntary and vocational opportunities.
  • going out and building meaningful relationships
  • travel and getting about safely
  • living as healthily as possible as an adult both physically and mentally.

Sometimes young people with SEND will need support from a number of services as they grow up. You should expect to be fully involved, working with these services to ensure a smooth transition into independence from your young person.

This is set out in the Government's SEN Code of Practice 2015.

Children and young people with SEND will usually either be on SEN Support if they are in school, or they might have an education, health and care plan (EHCP).

Preparing for Adulthood should be included as a clear part of your young person's EHCP if they have one.

Outcomes should be included in the plan at the earliest opportunity. It's never too early to talk to professionals about your child's dreams and aspirations and how you can work in partnership to help achieve these. This is included in the SEN Code of Practice. More information can be found about the SEN Code of Practice in this guide.

A vision board is a good way to collate some goals and aspirations for your child.

Download a vision board template

Role of schools and professionals

Your child's annual review meeting is very important and you may wish to invite any of the following:

  • teachers
  • careers advisers
  • therapists
  • social workers
  • family members
  • friends

Your child's school will organise this annual meeting on your behalf. The school's job is to inform you about the options available, and to support your child through the transition process. This includes providing material in a suitable format such as braille or large print for example.

If a professional (such as a care worker or teacher) cannot attend a review meeting they can provide the school with a written report to support the review meeting.

Personal budgets

Personal budgets are changing the way that education, health and social care services work with families who have children with SEND. For some areas of provision, such as education, health and social care, a budget is identified following an assessment. This allows parents/carers and young people to choose and purchase their own package of support.

Work then takes place to identify how this budget can be used to meet some or all of the support needs that are set out in your child's EHC plan or their assessed social and health care needs. A parent, carer or young person can request a personal budget as part of the assessment and planning process for the EHC plan, or at their annual review.

You will be told what funding is available as part of a personal budget, should you decide to consider having one and a ‘costed plan' will be drawn up. There will be personal budgets from education, health and social care if you meet the criteria.

The budget can be used to buy a range of equipment, transport, respite and assistance with accessing community activities. It can also be used to buy new support and provision, as long as it helps to meet the outcomes that have been agreed in your child’s EHC plan.

Transitioning to adult health services

In health care, the word 'transition' is used to describe the process of preparing, planning and moving from children’s to adult services. Health pathways vary depending on the needs of the young person, and which professionals from hospital settings they will need to ensure that appropriate support is in place.

We understand that moving away from a team of doctors and nurses that you have been with for many years can be scary. By being involved in the transition process, you should feel more confident and happier about the move. A key aim of the transition is to ensure that a consistent and continuous package of support is provided for them. This includes the years before, and after, the move to adulthood.

The nature of the package may change because the young person’s needs or circumstances change. Services or funding should not be withdrawn unless a full needs assessment has been carried out, in respect of both adult health and social care services.

When the young person reaches 17 and a half years old, a health care professional, or a member of the team from Buckinghamshire Council’s Children with Disabilities team will complete a checklist to see if continuing care funding is still needed. This assessment is done in consultation with the young person and their family. If it is, the young person will move over to the adult continuing health care (CHC) service and this arrangement will be reviewed annually.

Young people who are not eligible for continued care funding will have their assessed health needs met by their GP, although if their circumstances change, their doctor can refer them back for another assessment.