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The Care Act - Information for Professionals Working with Children and Families


  1. Introduction
  2. Main Areas of Change
  3. Transitions Assessments
  4. Transitions from Children’s to Adult’s Services
  5. Assessments for Parent Carer’s of Disabled Children
  6. Duty to Provide Information, Advice and Support

    Further Information

    Amendments to this Chapter

1. Introduction

The Care Act 2014 sets out how Local Authorities must provide services to adults requiring care and support.

The Care Act also applies to children with disabilities when they reach the transition stage from children’s into adults’ services, and gives parent carer’s of disabled children the right to a stand-alone assessment.

2. Main Areas of Change

Under the Act, if a disabled child, or adult caring for a disabled child, is likely to have needs when they or the child turns 18, then the Local Authority must undertake an assessment if it considers it will benefit the individual in doing so. This is even if the child or adult are not currently receiving any services.

3. Transitions Assessments

For disabled children who are likely to have needs when they turn 18, the Local Authority must undertake a transitions assessment if it considers it will benefit the individual. This is even if the child is not receiving any current services. The Act does not specify a specific age, prior to 18, at which an assessment can be requested, but the phrase “significant benefit” is used, by which the Local Authority can decide at which stage the young person or his/her carer would benefit from an assessment.

The assessment is expected to identify the outcomes the service user wants to achieve, what their needs are in the present and what they are likely to be when they turn 18. Advice and information must also be provided about the services which exist locally to either support needs or to reduce them – this includes information on resources deemed as being outside “formal” services.

If the Local Authority deems that an assessment is not required, then this must be put in writing to the service user, and information about local advice services provided.

When an assessment takes place, the Local Authority is expected to produce a Care and Support Plan. The young person and adult carer should be closely involved in formulating the Care and Support Plan. This plan will have to be reviewed at regular intervals.

The Act recognises that there are likely to be several agencies involved in a young person’s or carer’s life; therefore it gives Local Authorities a legal responsibility to cooperate, and to ensure that all the correct people work together to get the transition right. It also allows for multiple assessments by different agencies to be combined to save assessment after assessment from having to take place.

4. Transitions from Children’s to Adults’ Services

Children’s services must continue to be provided until adult provision has started or a decision is made that the young person’s needs do not meet the eligibility criteria for adult care and support following a Transitions Assessment.

The transition from children’s to adult services should take place at a time that is appropriate for the individual. This is particularly important where young people’s assessed needs do not meet eligibility criteria for adult services.

Under the Care Act 2014 all young people going through the transition process are entitled to independent advocacy.

Local Authorities and their partners must work together to ensure effective and well supported transition arrangements are in place. Young people and their families should not be expected to repeatedly provide duplicate information to different services, or to attend numerous reviews, or receive support that is not co-ordinated and joined up.

Having carried out a transition assessment, the Local Authority must give an indication of which needs are likely to be regarded as eligible needs so the young person understands the care and support they are likely to receive once children’s services cease.

Where a transition assessment identifies needs that are likely to be eligible, Local Authorities should consider providing an Indicative Personal Budget so that young people have an idea of how much their care and support will cost when they enter the adult system.

5. Assessments for Parent Carer’s of Disabled Children

Parent Carer’s have rights to stand-alone assessments under the Children and Families Act 2014; this is called a “parent carers needs assessment”.

Where requested, the Local Authority must assess whether that parent has needs for support and, if so, what those needs are. The assessment must include an assessment of whether it is appropriate for the parent to provide, or continue to provide, care for the disabled child, in the light of the parent’s needs for support, other needs and wishes.

The assessment must also have regard to:

  • The well-being of the parent carer; and
  • The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child and any other child for whom the parent carer has parental responsibility.

Following assessment, the Local Authority must then decide:

  • Whether the parent has needs for support;
  • Whether the child has needs for support;
  • If so, whether those needs could be met (wholly or partly) by services under Children Act 1989, s17.

Section 10 of the Care Act 2014 introduces key changes to the existing rights of carers for young people over 18 (i.e. those at the older end of the transitions process) to assessments. Carers no longer have to request an assessment to obtain one and they must be completed by the Local Authority on appearance of need.

The carer no longer has to establish that they are providing substantial care on a regular basis to qualify.

Instead, the only requirement is that the carer ‘may have needs for support – whether currently or in the future’.

The assessment must consider:

  • Whether the carer is able/willing to provide and continue to provide the care;
  • The impact on the carers ‘well-being’ of their caring role;
  • The outcomes the carer wishes in day-to-day life;
  • Whether the carer works or wishes to work (and/or) to participate in education, training or recreation.

Local authorities must also consider whether the carer would benefit from preventative services, information and advice.

6. Duty to Provide Information, Advice and Support

Both the Children & Families Act 2014 and the Care Act 2015 imposes upon local authorities a duty to provide children and young people with information, advice and support relating to their Special Educational Needs or disability, and transition, including matters relating to health and social care. It must include information, advice and support on the take-up and management of Personal Budgets.

Further Information

Hull Local Offer for Children with Disabilities and their Families

For information on the assessments for young carers, see Young Carers Safeguarding Practice Guidance.

Amendments to this Chapter

This chapter was added to the manual in June 2015.