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Transitioning into adult social care

The transition to adulthood can be particularly difficult for young people with disabilities or long term health conditions. Often children will have a number of different contact people and agencies which may change as they approach adult life. It is important that they have a smooth transition from children's services into Adult Social Care. 

Some young people will require support from adult social care services when they reach 18. For some, this support will just be in the form of advice and guidance. Others with more complex needs will need more care and support. 

The Care Act 2015

The Care Act was implemented in April 2015. This introduced a number of changes for Adult Social Care services, including:

  • the need to provide information and advice
  • a change to the eligibility criteria which Local Authorities use to determine if someone meets the criteria for care
  • more support for carers, including young carers
  • new duties and responsibilities in relation to Transition.

More changes will be implemented in 2016 relating to the costs of care to individuals.


The Care Act has introduced new eligibility criteria to assist Local Authorities in deciding who is eligible for care and support.  Adults with a physical or mental disability or illness who are unable to complete specific tasks or activities are likely to meet the criteria where they have care and support needs.

Transition into adult social care

A transition assessment can happen if a young person is likely to have care and support needs when they reach 18 and where it is thought to be of significant benefit to the young person. Early transition planning is important in helping prevent a gap in service. It considers the young person's well-being and what care and future support they will need.

A young person or their carer can make a referral to Adult Social Care and request a transition assessment. The young person and carer must be in agreement and give consent for the referral where they are able to do so. The assessment usually involves the young person, their parents, carer and anyone else the person, parents or carer asks to be involved.   For young people with Special Educational Needs and who likely to have Care and Support Needs at 18, a joint assessment and transition planning may be appropriate.

If an assessment is not needed then the reasons for this will be given along with advice and more information. 

Needs assessment for carers

The Care Act also enables young carers who are approaching 18 to have their needs assessed. There is also provision in the Care Act for the carers of disabled young people going through transition to have their needs assessed. 

More information and contact details

Visit the Kent County Council website for more information on transition planning into adulthood aimed at parents and young people. Or contact KCC Adult Social Care on 03000 416161 for more information.