How to get social care help arranged for when a young person is approaching 18.

If a young person has been getting care and support from our children's social care services, they may be eligible for support from adult social care. 

The Bristol Young Adults Transitions Service is made up of social workers, social care practitioners and occupational therapists.  It offers support to those with a wide range of needs, including:

  • learning disabilities
  • physical impairment
  • mental health issues
  • autism
  • children leaving care

How to arrange social care support for a young person as they prepare for adult life

For us to help the young person, we need to find out more about their needs and how these are affecting their daily life. This is called an assessment. 

When a young person reaches 18, the responsibility for providing social care support moves from children's services to adult social care. As the young person approaches 18, you can make an early referral for a Care Act assessment using the Adult Care Referral form

If the young person is currently getting support from a social worker in the children's team, or children's services, you should talk to them about the options and if they can help you in making a referral. 

Assessing a young person's needs for adult care

If it appears that the referral is appropriate for the Young Adults Transitions Service, we'll talk to you and the young person about:

  • their situation 
  • what their strengths are
  • the care they might need
  • what's important to them
  • what they want to achieve in life
  • what types of adult care and support they may benefit from
  • what other informal support is available  

This is called a support conversation. If it appears the young person will need support we'll carry out a Care Act assessment.

A Care Act assessment is an assessment of need, carried out by Adult Social Care Services. The assessment will help us decide if the young person needs care and support to help them. 

TheYoung Adults Transitions Service aims to allocate a social worker by the time a young person is 17 and a half. This gives us time to assess unmet needs before their 18th birthday and understand what support they and any carers might need beyond that.

More information about adult social care assessments.

What happens after an assessment

When an assessment shows a young person is eligible

We agree how we'll meet the young person's needs when they're 18 and draw up a support plan. This sets out goals to help them become more independent.

We'll provide or arrange the right services to meet the young person's needs. The types of services we can provide include:

  • a placement in residential or nursing care
  • living in your home with support from an agency that we commission
  • living in your home with support through a direct payment
  • outreach services
  • day care
  • personal care services

When a young person doesn't meet the eligibility criteria

If the young person's needs don't fit the Care Act criteria that allow them to get adult social care, we'll try our best to meet their needs. For example, by signposting you to other services, including  local charities or voluntary agencies.

We'll give you clear reasons why the young person isn't eligible, which will help you if you want to challenge the decision.

Benefits your family are entitled to

Social workers may be able to provide guidance about which benefits your family could get. They can signpost you to agencies that can make sure you get all of the benefits you're entitled to.

Additional support for young people 14 and above

The Young Adults Transitions Service lead on transitional planning for young people including those with complex needs, to help develop their independence by supporting:

  • healthy living
  • community and friendships
  • independence
  • employment and training

For support, email