23 October 2012

Northamptonshire County Council’s work to transform how young people with disabilities are supported into adulthood will be under the spotlight at a national conference this week (Wednesday 24th October).

The National Children and Adults Conference is one of the main events on the social care calendar, bringing together councillors, directors, policy makers, MPs and various organisations from across the voluntary and private sectors.

Conference delegates will hear about how the county council has been working to create a transitions team for disabled young people aged between 14 to 25 to improve their journey from childhood into adult life.

The county council is one of the first in the country to take this new approach which will replace the existing arrangement of having separate services for disabled young people and young adults. This means young people will have the same team support them as they get older and progress into adulthood.

A group from the county council made up of Councillors Andrew Grant and Robin Brown, director for adult and children’s services Charlie MacNally, assistant director for adults and transitions Carolyn Kus and transitions service manager will Ann McGale will lead the workshop.

The session will look at the council’s experience so far in creating a transitions team, the benefits and challenges of bringing together two separate teams with different processes, systems, culture and behaviour as well as the achievements so far. The workshop will also look at how the council has involved young people and their families in the creation of the new service and will include video clips showing young people with disabilities from Northamptonshire talking about their lives and experiences.

Cabinet member for public health and social care Councillor Robin Brown said: “The journey from childhood into adulthood can be difficult for any young person and this can be even more significant for young people with disabilities or learning difficulties. We want each person to have a positive experience as they grow up and transition into adulthood and successfully move them on to education, employment or training opportunities.

“In Northamptonshire, we are taking an innovative approach to achieving this, and are creating a single transitions team which will support these young people. This is different to other local authorities which have retained separate teams for young people and adults, or just set up a virtual team for example. I am pleased that we have this opportunity at the National Children and Adults Conference to share the learning we have gained in Northamptonshire with other councils so that they can follow our lead.”

Cabinet member for children, learning and skills, Councillor Andrew Grant said: “We are committed to ensuring disabled young people, alongside their parents and carers, have more choice and control over the way they live their lives and are working hard to improve the transitions experience for everyone involved.

“I am looking forward to speaking with representatives from different councils, MPS and various other organisations involved in social care about the work we have been doing in Northamptonshire. We have already learned a lot so far about the benefits and challenges of bringing together two separate teams, with different processes and culture, to form a single transitions team and this will be a good chance to share what we have achieved so far.”

Visit the transitions webpages for more information about project.