Deciding Whether to Start Carers Transition

This procedure should be used by any practitioner working with either:

  1. A young carer who is approaching the age of 18 and providing support to an adult; or
  2. An adult carer providing support to a young person who is approaching the age of 18.

Under the Care Act the purpose of a young carer's assessment is;

  1. To understand what the young carer's needs are now;
  2. To understand what the young carer's needs are likely to be after the age of 18; and
  3. To understand the support that the young carer will need to enable a smooth transition to adult Care and Support.

A good assessment will also:

  1. Support young carers and families to understand their strengths and capabilities within the context of their situation;
  2. Support young carers and families to understand the support that may be available to them within the community or through other networks and services; and
  3. Support young carers and families to consider some of the different ways that the Local Authority may be able to support them (other than through a formal service).

The information gathered will help the Local Authority to:

  1. Make a determination about eligibility for Support when the young carers becomes 18; and
  2. Understand the kind of service provisions that could be explored to meet current and future needs.

Under the Care Act the purpose of a child's carer's assessment is:

  1. To understand what the carers needs are now;
  2. To understand what the carers needs are likely to be after the young person they support turns 18; and
  3. To understand the support that the carer will need to enable a smooth transition to adult Care and Support.

A good assessment will also:

  1. Support carers to understand their strengths and capabilities within the context of their situation;
  2. Support carers to understand the support that may be available to them within the community or through other networks and services; and
  3. Support carers to consider some of the different ways that the Local Authority may be able to support them (other than through a formal service).

The information gathered will help the Local Authority to;

  1. Make a determination about eligibility for Support when the cared for person becomes 18; and
  2. Understand the kind of service provisions that could be explored to meet current and future needs.

Local Authority to;

  1. Make a determination about eligibility for Support when the young carers becomes 18; and
  2. Understand the kind of service provisions that could be explored to meet current and future needs.

A young carer's assessment should only be carried out when:

  1. The young carer has an appearance of likely need from the age of 18; and
  2. Carrying out the assessment now would be of significant benefit to them.

If the young carer does not have an appearance of need from the age of 18 you need to decide whether carrying out a young carer's needs assessment will still be of significant benefit to them in terms of planning and preparing for adulthood. Often, carrying out the assessment will prevent, reduce or delay any future need for Support by helping the young carer and their family to identify assets in their own communities and networks.

Significant benefit relates primarily to the timing of the assessment and whether the young carer will be able to engage in the process and get the most out of it in terms of being able to plan and prepare for adulthood. The following are all things that should be considered;

  1. Whether there is sufficient information to be reasonably confident about what the young carer's needs will be when they become 18;
  2. The stage they have reached at school and any upcoming exams;
  3. Whether the young carer wishes to enter further/higher education or training;
  4. Whether the young carer wishes to get a job when they become a young adult;
  5. Whether the young carer is planning to move out of their parental home into their own accommodation;
  6. The time it may take to carry out an assessment;
  7. The time it may take to plan and put in place the carers and support;
  8. Any relevant family circumstances; and
  9. Any planned medical treatment.

Where the assessment is not of significant benefit to the young carer at the current time, you should agree when a suitable time may be to carry out the assessment and make the necessary arrangements to follow this up when the time comes.

In all cases the young carer and their parents must be advised of their right to request an assessment again should circumstances change in the future.

A child's carer's assessment should only be carried out when;

  1. The carer is an adult providing support to a young person approaching 18 years of age?
  2. The carer has an appearance of likely need from the time the young person being cared for becomes 18?
  3. Carrying out the assessment now would be of significant benefit to them?

If the carer does not have an appearance of need from the time the young person being cared for becomes 18 you need to decide whether carrying out a child carer's assessment will still be of significant benefit to them in terms of planning and preparing for the transition. Often, carrying out the assessment will prevent, reduce or delay any future need for Support by helping the carer and their families to identify assets in their own communities and networks.

Significant benefit relates primarily to the timing of the assessment and whether the carer will be able to engage in the process and get the most out of it in terms of being able to plan and prepare for adulthood. The following are all things that should be considered:

  1. Whether there is sufficient information to be reasonably confident about what the carer's needs will be when the young person they care for becomes 18;
  2. Whether the carer is in, or wishes to enter further/higher education or training;
  3. Whether the carer works, or wishes to get a job;
  4. The time it may take to carry out an assessment;
  5. The time it may take to plan and put in place the carer's support;
  6. Any relevant family circumstances; and
  7. Any planned medical treatment.

Where the assessment is not of significant benefit to the carer at the current time, you should agree when a suitable time may be to carry out the assessment and make the necessary arrangements to follow this up when the time comes.

In all cases the carer must be advised of their right to request an assessment again should circumstances change in the future.

Adult Care and Support interventions (including transition assessments) cannot be carried out unless;

  1. The carer/young carer is making the request; or
  2. The carer/young carer has given their consent; or
  3. The carer is a young carer under the age of 18 at risk of harm from abuse or neglect.

The Gillick competency test should be used to determine whether a young carer under the age of 16 is able to consent to the assessment. To be able to consent the young carer must be able to understand what they are consenting to and the implications and likely outcome of consenting.

If the young carer is able to consent then the same conditions apply as for a young carer over the age of 16 (see above).

Where a young carer under the age of 16 is not able to provide consent this should be given by a person with parental responsibility for them. Their mother will always have parental responsibility, and normally the father will as well. Depending on the circumstances other people may also have been granted parental responsibility by the courts.

The Care Act places certain duties on the Local Authority whenever it is making any decision about a carer with Support needs (including carers/young carers going through transition). These are things that you absolutely must consider and are:

  1. The impact on the carer's/young carer's individual wellbeing;
  2. Whether any prevention services will delay, reduce or prevent the need for Support (although the duty to provide such services directly does not yet apply); and
  3. Whether information or advice can be provided to support the carer/young carer to find their own solution, or to delay, reduce or prevent the need for Support.

It is vital that you understand your duties in relation to the above. Please use the links below to access further information as required.

See: Promoting Individual Wellbeing for information about the duty to promote individual wellbeing.

See: Preventing Needs for Care and Support for information about the duty to prevent, reduce or delay needs.

See: Providing Information and Advice.

Sometimes consulting with others can be beneficial in making a decision about the benefit of carrying out a carer's transition assessment at that time.

Consent is required for all consultation with others.

The purpose of consultation and information gathering is to ensure that the response of the Local Authority is a proportionate and appropriate one to the carers/young carer's situation and level of need. Only information relevant to this purpose should be gathered and shared during consultation.

All information gathering and sharing should be carried out with regard to the Caldicott Principles, Data Protection Legislation and local information sharing policies.

The method of consultation and information gathering used should reflect the individual circumstances of the case. Depending on the level of urgency, risk and need consultation and information gathering can be formal or informal in nature.

For example:

  1. A telephone conversation;
  2. An e-mail or letter;
  3. A video conference; or
  4. A face to face meeting.

Where the method of consultation is not face to face you should be satisfied that the information you share will only be seen by the person to whom it is intended to be seen.

The Care Act is clear: Apart from cases where the level of risk is paramount you must consult with anyone that the carer/young carer has asked you to consult with before making any outcome decision.

Examples of paramount risk could include:

  1. Where urgent action is required, that if delayed to allow consultation would place a person at imminent risk of abuse or neglect leading to serious harm;
  2. Where the person to be consulted is deemed to be the perpetrator of abuse and neglect and consulting with them at that time would place a person at imminent risk leading to serious harm;
  3. Where urgent Care and Support provision is required, that if delayed to allow consultation would place a young person at imminent risk of harm through the non-meeting of essential needs.

The carer/young carer should be told why consultation has not occurred, and long term decision making should be avoided until such time when consultation is possible.

You should consult with a young carer's parents when they are under 18 before making any decision about carrying out a transition assessment.

You should also consult with anyone else who has parental responsibility, and any other person that someone with parental responsibility asks you to consult with.

Where a young carer is between the ages of 16 and 18 their consent should be sought. However, even if they do not provide it you must still consult with their parents.

With the carer's/young carer's consent you should proactively identify anybody else that it may be appropriate to speak with in order to gather comprehensive information upon which to decide whether to carry out the transition assessment. This could be a family member, a teacher, a health professional, another Local Authority or an organisation (such as a Care and Support provider). Under the Care Act anybody contacted by the Local Authority has a duty to co-operate with any requests for information or support.

See: Co-Operation to read more about the duty to co-operate under the Care Act.

If a young carer is under the age of 16 and unable to provide consent to consultation a person with parental responsibility can provide such consent.

If it is clear to you that a transition assessment either is or is not required, and you are authorised and confident to make this decision you should do so to avoid the carer/young carer from experiencing any unnecessary delays.

If it is not clear whether a transition assessment is required or you are not authorised or confident to make this decision you should explain to the carer/young carer that:

  1. It is not clear from the available evidence whether or not a transition assessment should be carried out; and
  2. You need to seek advice from a manager or colleague with the appropriate expertise; and/or
  3. You may need to gather further information from others (for example a health professional).

In all cases you should:

  1. Assure the carer/young carer that their views have been heard and will be considered in any decision that is made; and
  2. Agree with the carer/young carer when they can expect to hear from you again.

If an assessment request has been made by the carer/young carer (or their parent) the only grounds upon which the Local Authority can lawfully refuse it is when:

  1. There is no likely appearance of any need from the age of 18 (young carer's assessment); or
  2. There is no likely appearance of need when the cared for person turns 18 (child's carer's assessment); or
  3. Carrying out the transition assessment at that time would not be of significant benefit.

It is unlikely that the Local Authority would refuse many assessment requests.

If you do feel that an assessment is not appropriate you should discuss this with a manager before refusing it as you must be sure that the decision to refuse is legally sound.

Whenever you refuse to carry out a transition assessment on the basis that the timing is not of significant benefit you must indicate when it may be of significant benefit and make appropriate arrangements to make sure that the assessment is carried out at that time.

Last Updated: November 3, 2021

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