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Pathway into adulthood (Transitions)

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The Transitions team

The Transitions team works with young people and their carers who have received support from children's services and/or who are likely to need social care support after the young person reaches 18. There can be many changes in how services are provided when the young person reaches 18, so the Transition team work closely with other professionals and services such as Children's Services (Children with Disabilities team and Children in our Care), the Early Help team, Special Educational Needs team (SEND), Children and Young Peoples Service (CYPS), Adult Community Learning Disability team, and schools and colleges.

The aim of the transitions team is to support and prepare young people for life as they become an adult in line with the Preparation for Adulthood agenda (opens new window). The aim of the team is to support young people to:

  • access and gain paid employment
  • achieve a healthy life
  • access opportunities for further education, training and learning
  • be as independent as possible - we provide guidance and support around independent living (including choice and control around housing options available)
  • promote friendships, relationships and community participation
  • raise aspirations and help them to reach their full potential

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) Reviews

We have a designated transitions team representative who attends Year 9 and Year 12 Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) reviews. However, if the young person is allocated to a Transitions worker then it will be more appropriate for them to attend the Year 12 EHCP review.

The representative can provide information and advice regarding preventative, universal and specialist services. They also attend information events at specialist schools, signpost to health colleagues and offer information around self-referrals for a transitions assessment to those who may have eligible adult care and support needs, but who are not currently open to Children's Services.


To be eligible for a referral to the Transitions team there must one of the following criteria met;

  1. A young person has a diagnosis of either a learning disability, Autism and/or physical disability. We may need to verify any existing diagnosis at the point of referral to ensure the most appropriate support is provided.
  2. Where the local authority has a duty to provide after-care services to a young person as defined by s.117 Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007).

We recognise that young people do not always receive a diagnosis of a learning disability (LD) as a child. If there is a strong likelihood that a young person may have a LD, we can refer them to the Health / Transitions Group for a full health assessment before their 18th birthday for a LD screening to be considered.

For those young people who are already receiving children's services, their social worker will make a referral to the Transitions team following their 16th birthday (as per Ages and Stages protocol). Alternatively, those young people who are not receiving Children's Services can make a self-referral by requesting an initial care assessment.


Once the presence of a learning disability, Autism and/or physical disability (or emotional, psychological and mental health needs) has been established, to determine if someone is eligible for adult services, the Transitions Team use the eligibility threshold criteria in the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014. To be eligible, an adult's needs must arise from or be related to a physical or mental impairment or illness, and as a result, are unable to achieve two or more of the specified outcomes without assistance as listed below:

  • managing and maintaining nutrition
  • maintaining personal hygiene
  • managing toilet needs
  • being appropriately clothed
  • being able to make use of the adult's home safely
  • developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • making use of facilities or services in the local community including public transport and recreational facilities or services 
  • carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child

We will only provide adult services to people who are assessed as being unable to achieve two or more of the specified outcomes and therefore there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult's wellbeing without the implementation of services. As part of completing a Care Act Assessment, the transitions team will look at ways to support a young person's well-being, resilience, psychological and emotional needs.

As young people referred to the Transitions Team are not yet of adult age, the team use the above criteria based on the likelihood of need into adulthood. Additionally, the Ages and Stages document is used in considering the age a child or young person should be referred to the Transitions Team for allocation. The team will aim to allocate a young person no later than their 17th birthday.

To find out if you may be eligible for support as a carer, view our carers webpages or contact Adult Social Care.

Referral process

If a young person is already receiving children's services, their social worker will make a referral to the Transitions team following their 16th birthday. If they meet the criteria for adult services, we provide them and their parents/carers with general information and advice about adult services. We will work their children's social worker to ensure that they have a smooth, well managed transition into adult services.

The children's social worker will remain the young person's allocated social worker until they turn 18 years old. They will continue to monitor, update and review their children's support package and support plan. From the ages of 18 up to 25 the Transition worker will be the allocated worker should the person be eligible for services.

If the young person is not involved with Children's Services, a transitions worker will be allocated to carry out a needs assessment when they reach 17 years old.


The young person may have to pay for some of the services they receive as an adult. This will depend on their income and how much help they need. They will be asked to complete a financial assessment. Their transition worker can give them advice and support with this.

If a young person is not eligible for referral to the team

If the young person does not meet the eligibility criteria for a referral into the Transitions team but is likely to have care and support needs as an adult, they or their carer can request an assessment through Adult Social Care Direct after their 18th birthday.

Young people with emotional, psychological and mental health needs will be supported to access appropriate help as they transition into adulthood. For further information, please contact Adult Social Care Direct. Alternatively, you can make a self-referral online for further support.

Health / Transitions Group

The Health/Transitions Group was formed to ensure that our Transitions Protocol and Pathway (PDF) [226KB] (opens new window) sets out how services in Gateshead will work together to ensure the best outcomes for all young people with disabilities as they move into adult life. It sits alongside our SEND Multi Agency Transitions Protocol. The group meet on a three-monthly basis to identify and discuss referrals into the Gateshead Adult Community Learning Disability Team when the young person is 17 years and 9 months.

When a referral is received for a health assessment, contact will be made within 10 to 15 working days and an appointment will be made within 30 working days.

After the assessment has been completed, the nurse will agree with the young person and their primary carer what the next steps will be. This may include referrals to other services such as occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, psychiatry and more.

Contact Adult Social Care

There are many ways to contact the adult social care team, both online and over the phone.

We encourage people who can contact us online to do so, as it helps to free up phone lines for emergencies or for those who don't have access to or the skills to use computers.

Contact Adult Social Care