Opinions

Time to talk about transitions

Written by: Ronnie Hill, Associate Director, Children and Young People, the ALLIANCE
and James Cox, Consultant, The ALLIANCE

Published: 24/05/2017

It's time to take action to improve the experiences of disabled young people through their transition to adult services and adult years.

Ronnie and James Cox, Consultant, ALLIANCE Transitions Study, tell us about today’s launch (24 May 2017) of the ALLIANCE’s new report “Experiences of Transitions to Adult Years and Adult Services” (to view please see resource below).

The basis of the study is the lived experience of young people and their families.  The young people or young adults in this study are in the age range 15-24, with one aged 30.  Families and individuals have come forward from throughout the study area of East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Scottish Borders and the City of Edinburgh.  Twenty-nine young people and their families participated. We are indebted to these families, whose active engagement has been critical to the production of this report.

The aim of the study is to inform improvements by outlining themes and suggestions arising from people’s experiences.  Conclusions and recommendations are intended to support practitioners and managers in their practices, services and strategic developments.

The study explores the extent to which key components of ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) are evident or are helpful to families.  GIRFEC is underpinned by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It aims to improve the wellbeing of Scotland’s children and young people by encouraging statutory and third sector partners to coordinate their efforts with families.  A key aim is to ensure children and young people get the right support at the right time if and when they need it.

In his Foreword to the report, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald MSP points out that;

“…transition from childhood to adulthood is one of the most daunting phases in anyone’s life; a period of huge change and adjustment.  Crucially if we want to build a truly fair and inclusive Scotland, we must make sure that all young people are supported during this time of transition to ensure they reach their potential, irrespective of personal circumstance.”

The ALLIANCE agrees fully that supporting disabled children, young people and their families through this period of profound change is a matter of fairness and inclusion. Offering and sustaining the right support to young people and their families throughout this process is a matter of ensuring social justice and upholding people’s rights.

The resilience, creativity and tenacity of families is the bright light in this report as they, with their children and young people, strive over the years to ensure disabled young people navigate change and reach their potential in adulthood.  The report sets out examples of great practice and support which has assisted young people and families through this change.  It also highlights tensions, frustrations and dilemmas which need to be resolved.

This is a report about hope.  We know that there are practical steps that can be taken by statutory services and third sector partners, working with families, to make improvements to the support offered.  The recommendations set out in this report are based on what families and practitioners have told us about what works well and about how improvements can be made.  We hope that you will join us in our drive to ensure these recommendations are put into practice across Scotland.

 

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