Moving from children’s to adult social care

Moving from children’s to adult social care

How to get social care help arranged for when your child is approaching 18

If your child 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 Preparing for Adulthood team is made up of social workers, social care practitioners and a care leaver personal adviser. It offers support to those with a wide range of needs, including:

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

The team is part of the Birth to 25 collaboration.

How to arrange social care support for your child as they prepare for adult life

For us to help your child, 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 your child approaches 18, you can make an early referral for a Care Act assessment using the Adult Care Referral form

If your child is currently getting support from a social worker in the children’s team, you should talk to them about the options and if they can help you in making a referral. 

Assessing your child’s needs for adult care

If it appears that the referral is appropriate for the Preparing for adulthood team, we’ll talk to you and your child 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 your child will need support we’ll carry out a Care Act assessment.

The Care Act deals with adult social care for anyone over the age of 18. If your child is likely to have needs when they are 18 and they get support from social workers from within the Children’s team, you should talk to them about 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 your child needs care and support to help them. 

The Preparing for Adulthood team 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 your child is eligible

We agree how we’ll meet your child’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 your child’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 your child doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria

If your child’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 your child 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.