‘Cat’s cradle of red tape’ dogs move to adult services for young people

“Urgent action” is needed to tackle the “considerable difficulties” facing disabled young people and their families in the transition from children’s to adult services, according to inspectors.

A Commission for Social Care Inspection report said services in England were not meeting national standards for transition planning for young people with complex needs.

Although it found progress in some areas, such as the co-ordination of services, it found many councils and their partners were not properly organised to support young people in transition, and users were not universally offered the same levels of care in adults’ services as they were in children’s services.

The Disability Rights Commission said a “chasm” has opened up between the support disabled young people received in childhood and what they get in adulthood.

Its policy and communications director Agnes Fletcher said: “This report exposes the effects the cold, dead hand of adults’ social services has on disabled teenagers wanting to make their way in adult life.

“Families have to negotiate a cat’s cradle of costly red tape. But tightening eligibility criteria mean that incredible strains are placed on parents to negotiate support from a system that rarely provides what is actually needed.”

Association of Directors of Social Services disabilities committee co-chair John Dixon accepted that transition services had generally not been managed well, but said that a lot of work was going on to improve them.

He added that there were funding constraints, with education resources, often the biggest available pot, drying up once a child reached adulthood.

Dixon suggested direct payments and individual budgets could revolutionise the quality of transitions.

He added: “If people have a great deal more control over the decisions taken, and individual budgets enable them to do that, then you can take away some of the frustrations about not always being at the centre of decision making.”

Main findings
In the transition between children’s and adults’ services there is inadequate commissioning of services, poor co-ordination and failure to properly plabn ahead. Many councils say the level of services is reduced as young people reach adulthood

Growing Up Matters

Contact the author
Simeon Brody


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