National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy - statement of intent: engagement analysis

Full report on analysis of feedback received on the National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy: statement of intent.

Question 1

Do you agree that the meaning we have given to ‘transition to adulthood’ is the correct one for the strategy?

There were 150 responses to this question. As shown in Table 3 at the Annex, the vast majority of respondents either ‘strongly agreed’ (59 respondents; 39%) or ‘agreed’ (86 respondents; 57%) that the meaning given to ‘transition to adulthood’ is the correct one for the strategy. Only a very small minority of respondents ‘disagreed’ (2 respondents; 1%) and none ‘strongly disagreed’.

For the follow up question (‘Please explain your answer’), a total of 112 responses were received. A significant minority of respondents used this opportunity to make a number of general comments supporting the proposed definition of ‘transition to adulthood’.

Six overarching themes were identified through other open text responses to this question. They were:

  • Flexibility within the age range
  • Transitions as an ongoing process
  • Transitions practices
  • Access to services and support
  • Role of parents/carers
  • Specific conditions

No transition is a set thing even if there is a date that ‘marks’ the move – it is a process and the definition acknowledges this.

Flexibility within the age range

Whilst the majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposed age range of 14-25 years old within the definition of ‘transition to adulthood’, a significant minority stressed that transitions support must flexibly accommodate individuals’ needs, particularly where a young person’s stage of development may not align with their chronological age.

A significant minority of respondents also proposed a variety of alternative age ranges, however there was no clear consensus on which was most appropriate. The overriding view from responses was that the time at which any disabled young person might require support for transitions would vary, and that support should start earlier or later depending on an individual’s needs. There was also some concern that a fixed age range could unintentionally create a “cut off” of support and that support should extend beyond the age range, if required.

Transitions as an ongoing process

A large minority of respondents agreed that the transition to adulthood is an ongoing process or journey, and should not be seen as a single event. Respondents reflected on the range of areas for which a young person may simultaneously require transition support, for example in health, social care, independent living and further education. That the Scottish Government views the transition to adulthood as an ongoing process and not a single event, as is reflected in the statement of intent, was welcomed by a significant minority of respondents.

It is very much a process and has to be flexible dependent on the young person’s needs.

I fully support that this is a period and a process.

Transitions is undoubtedly a process and not a single event like leaving school.

Transitions practices

Within this theme, a small minority of respondents took the opportunity to emphasise that planning for transitions should start early, and that it should involve the range of partners who will support a young person throughout their transitions journey. It was felt to be crucial that a robust plan, which explored all available options, was in place for disabled young people well in advance of leaving school or moving between children’s and adult’s services.

In the context of the proposed age range, a few respondents commented that the time at which transitions planning begins varies across sectors. To address this, a possible solution of more joined up practice and training for professionals was suggested. A small number of respondents also indicated there needs to be less siloed working, to bring greater consistency to transitions approaches across the services with which young people interact.

Access to services and support

Within their response to this question, a small number of respondents indicated that access to suitable support and services was key to successful transitions. This theme was also echoed in responses to other questions, with a majority of overall respondents commenting that the ambition of the statement of intent is reliant on disabled young people being able to access suitable support and services.

Whilst a significant minority of respondents to this particular question acknowledged that they could have received better support if information had been provided to them, responses overall generally indicated that it is felt there is not enough choice or availability of support and options across Scotland for disabled young people to transition to.

Particular challenges relating to the transition between children and adult’s services were also highlighted. In some cases, respondents described a ‘cliff edge’ of support, where a young person was no longer eligible for support under children’s services - for example, because they had left school but were not yet 18, and subsequently found themselves ineligible for adult service support.

Role of parents/carers

The role of parents/carers emerged as a theme in responses to this question, and others. A few respondents felt the strategy should strengthen the role of parents/carers as key partners in their young person’s transitions journey, and that their own support needs should be considered alongside the support needs of their young person during transition. Emphasising the role of the parent carer was felt to be especially important where a young person might lack capacity, with the issue of guardianship explicitly mentioned by a small number of respondents.

Specific conditions

Finally, a few respondents made explicit reference to particular conditions, with autism and complex needs specifically named. This appeared primarily in the context where a young person may not experience cognitive development at the same rate as their chronological age.



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