Together for Short Lives
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Transition to adult services

As your child gets older, the move from familiar children’s services to new adult services can feel very daunting.

Transition is not a single event, but is a gradual process,  ideally beginning at around the age of 14 years to tie in with the Year 9 school annual review.  A good transition should build on the young person’s strengths and wherever possible work with them to plan for how they can meet their aspirations in life.

It should also involve you as parents/carers and support you to understand the changes in your rights as carers as your child reaches the legal age of adulthood.  The legal age of becoming an adult is 16 years in Scotland but 18 years across other UK nations.


We’ve developed a suite of transition resources to guide families through the move to adult services, and beyond.

  1.  Our guide, Moving to Adult Services: What to expect provides detailed information that can support young people and their families through the process of moving from families children’s services to adult services.
  2. Our Transition Factsheet gives information on the process of moving to adult services, focusing on the pentagon of support: health, social care, education, employment and housing. It also provides a list of organisations that offer support to young people moving to adult services.
  3. Our Young Person’s Guide to Personal Budgets is written for young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition and may be considering a personal budget. The easy to use guide aims to help young people decide if a personal budget is right for them.
  4. Our resource Difficult Conversations for Young Adults helps professionals and families approach conversations with seriously ill young people about their end of life care.
  5. A checklist to a good transition can be used by young people and their families to assess how well the agencies involved in their care are performing. The resource can be completed online or in print, and aims to put the young person’s needs at the centre of their transition to adult services.
  6. My Care Transfer is bespoke digital platform designed to help families looking after seriously ill children to communicate effectively with care professionals. Whilst My Care Transfer can be used by families with a seriously ill child of any age, it will be particularly useful for those making the transition to adult services, ensuring no key information is left behind or forgotten.

Together for Short Lives has developed the following standards for all professionals working with your family to adhere to:

Standard 1 
Every young person from age 14 should be supported to be at the centre of preparing for approaching adulthood and for the move to adult services. Their families should be supported to prepare for their changing role.

Standard 2 
Every young person should be supported to plan proactively for their future. They should be involved in ongoing assessments and developing a comprehensive holistic plan that reflects their wishes for the future.

Standard 3 
Every young person should have an end of life plan developed in parallel to planning for ongoing care and support in adult services.

Standard 4 
Children’s and adult services should be actively working together to enable a smooth transition.

Standard 5 
Every young person should be supported in adult services with a multi-agency team fully engaged in facilitating care and support. The young person and their family should be equipped with realistic expectations and knowledge to ensure confidence in their care and support needs being met in the future.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s transition will be unique. Not only will it depend on your child’s hopes and aspirations, it will also depend on what services and support organisations are in your area and you should ask those professionals you have a good relationship with about options available to you.

If you have questions or want support, send us an email or leave a message on 0808 8088 100 to speak to one of our team.