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Young people in transition

What is transition?

Transition means change.

For children and young people with a disability, when we talk about transition we mean the change from being a teenager to being an adult, and from moving on from children's care services to adult's care services.

During this period young people can experience changes in lots of areas of their lives. These changes may include:-

  • leaving education
  • thinking about starting a job or work experience
  • changes to their state benefits and finances
  • moving into new accommodation
  • changes to health and medical services
  • changes in any social care support
  • changes to personal relationships.

It's a time when young people gain new rights and responsibilities. Transition can be an exciting time for young people, full of new opportunities. However it can also be a worrying time as young people move on from familiar people and places and face new challenges.

It is important that young people with disabilities and their parents and carers plan for transition.

How we plan support

A young person with a disability and special educational needs will have been receiving support long before they are ready to make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) are legal documents which describe how the special education, health or social care needs of a child or young person (aged 0-25) will be met. These documents are designed in partnership with families and young people so they reflect the support needed for a child or young person to achieve their own ambitions. 

The EHC plan focuses on the child / young person's educational needs and aims (known as 'aspired outcomes'), as well as on any health and care needs which they might have.

People who are considered not to be eligible for an EHC plan can appeal against the decision under a mediation and tribunal process.

And anyone who is not eligible for an EHC plan may still be referred on for support from another organisation, or can themselves approach another organisation for support (see the section below on The Support Available In Your Local Area).

And your local council has also provided information on the EHC plans and the changes in legislation:-

At the age of 16 a young person who has a disability, and who may already have an EHC plan in place, may start to be supported by the council's transition team if they have social care needs and are eligible for council support in meeting these needs.

In Kensington and Chelsea the transition team work both with young people with learning disabilities, and with young people with physical disabilities.

In Westminster, the team work only with young people with learning disabilities. Young people with physical disabilities may be supported by Adult Social Care team.

The transition teams aim to support a young person with their transition into adulthood by exploring their needs, wishes and circumstances, and helping them to plan for their future. The young person, their family and their carers are encouraged to take an active role throughout this process to ensure they are properly listened to, and are at the centre of planning and decision-making.

The transition service or team is usually made up of both health professionals (such as nurses, psychologists or therapists) and social care professionals (such as social workers and support workers). The team bridges the gap between your council's Children's Services and their Adult Services departments.

The transition team will first complete an assessment with the young person and their family which will determine whether they have social care needs, and whether they meet the local council's eligibility criteria to receive support - you can find out more about the assessment process on our Requesting as assessment page.

If the young person is eligible for support following the assessment then the transition team will work with them to try to achieve positive outcomes in up to 4 different areas:-

  • Health
  • Employment
  • Community Inclusion (meaning getting out and about and having the chance for an active social life)
  • Independent living 

The young person may be supported to achieve these outcomes in different ways, including through provision of the following types of support:-

  • accommodation
  • day opportunities
  • employment pathways
  • further educational support
  • respite and other support for the young person's family or others who help to look after the young person
  • benefits / financial support
  • equipment
  • signposting (information about other services which might be useful)
  • re-ablement (support to become more independent) 

The transition team can continue to work with the young person up until they reach the age of 25 (sometimes even longer), but will end their involvement earlier if the young person's care arrangements are settled. 

The "Moving on" leaflet is a guide to becoming an adult for young people with disabilities.  The services available depend on your borough:


(for people with learning disabilities only)

Westminster Learning Disability Partnership
Phone: 020 7641 7411

Kensington and Chelsea

(which offers a service for those young people who have Learning Disabilities and /or Physical Disabilities in preparation for Adulthood)

Community Learning Disability Team
Phone: 0207 313 6843/6880

Your local council provides information on the range of services which are available for children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, and their parents and carers. This information is known as the 'local offer' and is something which the council now has to provide by law.

The local offer includes information on services for children, and on services for young adults 'in transition'.

Support in Westminster

In Westminster the council provides information online which explains the services currently available to children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, and their parents and carers.

This information includes details on the support available for young adults.

Support in Kensington and Chelsea

In Kensington and Chelsea the council provides information online which explains the services currently available to children and young people who have special educational needs and disabilities, and their parents and carers.

This information includes details on the support available for young adults.

The Full of Life Carers Advocacy Service supports carers of adults with learning disabilities. Find out more on Carers' Advocate on tel 0208 962 9917 or email
This short video documentary gives a flavour of what Full of Life does, including their support for carers.

The Preparing for Adulthood website offers and information and advice which aims to ensure young people with SEN and disabilities have equal life chances as they move into adulthood.
The information they provide includes:-

  • Information on EHC plans
  • Information on transition
  • Information especially for young people

Mencap provide additional information on what to expect from the transition process.

Although Full of Life only provide support to carers and young people in Kensington and Chelsea their information on learning difficulties,  EHC plans and transition will be useful for everyone. 

Last updated: 22/04/2024