One of the biggest concerns for parents of disabled young people who are about to pass 18, is the move to adult services. Sometimes it goes smoothly, but often it ends up being very difficult with vital support being lost along the way. The 2014 Care Act was supposed to Belinda Blank, Director of the Advocacy and Support Partnership, has written some information for us about the Act and brings news of a seminar to help.
The Care Act when transitioning from children's to adult social care by Belinda Blank
When the Care Act 2014 came into force in April 2015, it was described as, “the most significant reform of care and support in 60 years”. And it is. Not only should it give choice and control to those receiving care, but it also gives equal rights to support to carers themselves, for the first time.
Over 18 months later, have parents and carers of young people and adults with SEND noticed the difference? How many carers actually know what the Act says, or have the knowledge to insist local authorities apply it properly?
This is particularly important once young people make the move from school to college. Suddenly they no longer have five days a week of guaranteed education, but often only four days, and with shorter hours; even this is now being reduced to three days in places. What does this mean for the rest of the week for the young person, and for you as a carer?
The legislation says that for any young person with SEND approaching the age of 18, or transition to adult life, an assessment of their needs must be undertaken which takes account of a huge range of factors. Chief among these is the “well-being principle” and LAs should show that their assessments take this into account. Broadly speaking, a local authority must provide for the person’s well-being, by providing those needing care and support with sufficient resources to enable them to do all of the following: maintain hygiene, both personal and of the home, manage toilet needs, be appropriately clothed, make use of the home safely, develop and maintain family or other personal relationships, access and engage in work, training, education or volunteering and make use of necessary facilities or services in the local community, including public transport, and recreational facilities or services. This means that they must be able to do all of those things independently, and if they cannot do two of them, they are entitled to support.
So in short, the Act gives local authorities a new legal responsibility to provide a care and support plan (or a support plan in the case of a carer) to enable the person to do all of those things. And that does NOT mean: only if parents and carers can help them do it.
In addition, for the first time, the Act provides people with a legal entitlement to a personal budget, which is an important part of the care and support plan, or support plan. And also for the first time, even if the person themselves is not eligible for support, the carer probably will be and the list of things that has to be taken into account during the carer's assessment, is similar to the list above. This Act places the needs of carers on an equal footing with those of the person requiring care.
So if you have a child with SEND who is approaching, or has reached, the age of 18, they become subject to the Care Act if they have needs for social care support. Even if they do not reach the threshold for those needs, you have rights as a Carer. This affects parents and carers of high functioning young people who have Asperger’s, for example, who may not qualify for support themselves. However their carer may do and would then be able to access support via the person they care for receiving services (such as respite etc).
So, understanding the various parts of the Care Act is vital if you are to be able to ensure the assessment is done properly for your young person (or indeed if an older adult is being assessed or reassessed.)
Care Act resources:
- The Care Act 2014 legislation
- The Care Act FAQs for carers
- Factsheets about 2016 changes to The Care Act Part 1
- For LAs and Care Providers: Social Care Institute of Excellence on The Care Act
- What is "Ordinary Residence" in The Care Act?
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She is also an experienced broadcast and print journalist & author. Tania also runs a PR, web & social media consultancy, SocialOro Media. She is a Rare Disease & chronic pain patient advocate with Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
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