6.4 Working together for children and adults
You have had an opportunity to consider the importance of working together for personalisation in relation to children and their families, and to adults. Many of the challenges identified to working together are very similar in children's and adult's services in all parts of the UK. Some key challenges include:
- Money: budgets, funding and how they are shared by agencies and with families
- Structures: the way that services are organised
- Professional cultures: shared values, beliefs, attitudes, customs and behaviours that different professions may develop over time.
However, there are also some important differences in the ways in which these challenges are being tackled in Scotland. The development, since 2006, of the policy and practice of Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) has been crucial to improving how services work together for the child. And, in adult care, increasing integration of health and social care services is an important potential driver for shifting organisational practices. But what happens when young people move from children's to adult's services? This change is often referred to as 'transition' – and involves not only children's and adult's services working well, but for these two groups of services to work well together .
Activity 6.9 Support in transition
Sharon Moore is the manager of a specialist multi-agency transitions project in England. In this five minute podcast Sharon illustrates her team's approach to transition by describing their experience of working with a young man with Down’s syndrome.
Listen to the podcast and then use your learning log to note down your responses to these questions:
- How did Sharon and her team work with this young person and other services to help him move into the adult world?
- To what extent is the approach described a personalised one?[Note that 'Year 9' is equivalent to 3rd year in a secondary school in Scotland.]
Then listen to this short podcast which features Mrs Choudhury speaking about her family's experience of transition from children's to adult services once her daughter reached the age of 18:
- How does the experience of Mrs Choudhury and her daughter of transition from children's to adult services differ from that described by Sharon Moore?
In Sharon's podcast you will probably have identified a range of ways in which services working together helped this young man move into the adult world. For example, you heard about the importance of providing accessible information and advice, the need for careful planning and preparation and for involving a range of relevant agencies - from colleges, to youth groups to housing organisations.
What was personalised about their approach? It was one centred on this particular young man, his wishes and particular interests. Sometimes transition is characterised as a single event - one big leap from the child's world of services to that of an adult's. However, Sharon makes the point that for this young person - like most of us - the transition to adulthood is a process, involving a series of changes which are driven by our individual needs, circumstances and wishes. For this young person key staging points included moving from home to college, getting his own flat and finding a job.
Mrs Choudhury describes a very different experience for her daughter, in which, far from a planned, supported change to adult services, there was a sudden withdrawal of service. Information and support were largely absent and the kind of personalised, integrated planning required to make the move into adult services did not happen. In this case, after a very difficult year, mother and daughter were able to access a self-directed support service that meets their needs. Mrs Choudhury's account is an important reminder that there is still much to be done to make transitions work in the way that Sharon Moore describes.