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Preparing for adulthood focus group

Bristol Parent Carers holds meetings with parent carers and staff from Bristol City Council and NHS Bristol Trust, because they have asked us to help them improve the preparing for adulthood (previously transition) services provided for SEND young people (14+). If you want to participate in any of the opportunities listed below - watch our Calendar or email us.

To understand the starting point of our work and progress - vist our Past Achievements page.

Current Activities - 2016-2017

Issue: We struggle to find out what the future might hold for our young people 
Result:  New "Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) Guide" and online resources 
Click here: To download the PfA Guide
Click here: To discover the PfA guidance and resources online at Findability - Bristol's Local Offer 

We used to talk about how our youngsters would "Transition to Adult Services", but the SEND Reforms (that arrived in September 2014) brought in the process called "Preparing for Adulthood". Preparing for adulthood (PfA) requires everyone working with young people with SEND, from an early age, to consider what support they need in order to achieve their aspirations for: Good Health, Getting into Employment, Independent Living, and Community Inclusion.   

But we didn't know what that meant in Bristol - What's available? What can our youngsters do? Who could help us? What advice is available? So, Bristol Parent Carers arranged a PfA Event last year with staff from the Council and Health so we could hear what they had to say and they could listen to parent carers' concerns. This was a catalyst for the Council to produce a PfA Guide which provides a clear description of what should happen (see link above). There is also now a whole Preparing for Adulthood section on the Findability website which shows you Bristol's Local Offer for families with SEND children (see link above). This will be updated regularly with new information and resources. Please use both these resources - they can clarify how to get support for your young person! 

Issue: You don't know what education and training options are available post-16 and post-19
Result:  Improved education and training opportunities available now in Bristol 
Click to download: An update on changes to specialist sixth forms and College courses

At Bristol Parent Carers' Education Event in November 2015, lots of parent carers shared their concerns about the lack of post-16 and post-19 options that they would like in Bristol for their youngsters. Annette Jones, Head of Specialist Education & Access, at Bristol City Council says that what she heard really changed the work plan for her staff, and they designed solutions for the issues raised with different providers, and as a result there are different options available for our young people and these will continue to develop. At Bristol Parent Carers' PfA Events in June 2016, she provided a You Said, We Did presentation (see link above) that describes the resulting:-

  • expansion in the specialist post-16 places
  • improvement in courses available at City of Bristol College
  • supported post-19 internships - Project Search
  • post-19 residential training opportunity - Project Rainbow.

Current Position: 
When young people with SEND leave sixth form there is now a choice of 3 post-19 opportunities provided by City of Bristol College:-

  • A pre-supported internship programme which supports young people with complex needs into employment - there are currently 24 placements, and the aim is to increase this to 40
  • A course for those with sensory needs - starting in September 2017
  • A 'Progression into Independence' course, which is residential if you want, known as Project Rainbow. This 1 year "getting ready" course allows the staff and young person to discover what they might progress to next - either another course; an Independent Living social care package; or internship/employment.

Other things in development are:-

  • More post-16 "getting ready" courses/centres
  • A 'Passport to Employment' - this is a portfolio of resources that show the abilities that your young person has. This is shared with potential employers so they can see how your young person could best fit into their workplace.
  • A 'Passport to Independent Living' - this is a portfolio of resources that show the abilities that your young person has. This is shared with potential Independent Living providers so they can see what your young person's strength and needs are and how best to meet them.

Issue: You don't know what care options are available, or how your young person will occupy their day if they don't continue in education
Result:  The Preparing for Adulthood Team offers support and advice  
Click here to download:
The Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) Team leaflet
Preparing for Adulthood - what does it mean
PfA Team Social care brokerage

The Council now has a Preparing for Adulthood Team that covers both Specialist Education post-16 and Social Care support for 18-25 year olds - see their leaflet (first link above), which tells you how to contact them for advice. At our PfA Event last year, staff from the Team gave a presentation (see second link above) explaining:-

  • What to expect from an SEN assessment
  • What to expect from a social care assessment
  • Ways to access social care and support

If your young person has significant social care needs with daily living, communal activities, independence skills, and possibly residential support, the PfA Team will assess the package of support required and 'broker' a deal for you with a care provider - see third link above.

Issue: You don't know what Health services your young person can receive post-18
Result:  Here's a range of information leaflets explaining what's on offer  
Click here to download:
Bristol Community Learning Disabilities Team
Learning Disabilities Services - Easy Read version
NHS Continuing Healthcare
Specialist Community Neurology Service

At our PfA Event last year, staff from Bristol Community Health provided lots of information on the services available for our children as they become young adults (see links above) explaining:-

  • How young people with learning disabilities will transition from Children's Services to a Community Learning Disabilities Team, and the range of services on offer
  • How young adults who require a continuing package of healthcare from the NHS will be assessed, supported, and reviewed.
  • How young adults with neurological conditions can access the Specialist Community Neurology Service to access therapies and other support.

There is more information on the Adult Health Services available to your young person, on the Findability Bristol website - look here. Also here's a leaflet describing how they would transfer from Children's Services to Adult ones.

Issue: You don't know when professionals will start making decisions with your young person, and without you
Result:  Bristol Parent Carers' worked with the Council on a simple explanation of the Mental Capacity Act  
Click here: To view our video on the Mental Capacity Act (scroll down to our 2015 Participation Event to find the video and pdf document there)

Preparing for Adulthood is all about moving your young person towards independence, and about personalisation - enabling them to pursue their aspirations and dreams for their future. So, as our children grow older, professionals will give them a voice and control over decisions about their future, without us being there. As parent carers this can be a worry - we're not always certain that our young person has
 the capacity to make some decisions! For some youngsters, we may have to go through a formal process to assess their capacity - this falls under the Mental Capacity Act.

To unpick what will happen and to understand the formalities of the Mental Capacity Act, Bristol Parent Carers' reps worked with the Council to produce a Question & Answer presentation for our 2015 Participation Event. Look at our website (see link above) to watch the video of Sally (parent carer) asking questions of Gary (from the Council) who explains what will happen. There is also a pdf document of the slide presentation available on the same webpage.

Last, but not Least! 
Upcoming developments from other providers:  

The Listening Partnership - is a regular forum group for young disabled people in Bristol aged 13-19 years old, or with learning difficulties up to age 25. Young people are encouraged to have their say and learn about their rights, with guest speakers and workshops across a range of topics. The group is also regularly consulted by the local council, and involved in projects with other local organisations. So if your young person wants to get involved and find their voice, they will be supported by WECIL and meet on Monday evenings at The Station in the centre of Bristol - click here for details.

A Preparing for Adulthood workshop from Contact a Family - The following workshop is coming up and may still have spaces - follow the Eventbrite link to discover and book 
4th April – Preparing for Adulthood – 2 times 1000am and 1700hrs.  Both at New Fosseway School:

Government Green Paper on 'Work, Health and Disability: Improving Lives'. The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF), that Bristol Parent Carers (and all other forums) are a part of, has provided a response to government on our behalf. NNPCF recognises that "developing employment pathways and finding sustainable jobs for disabled people is a very complex area, involving many players and systems". It welcomes the vision of the green paper that "whoever you are and wherever you are from, you should receive the right healthcare, help and support that you require to be the best that you can be. Health issues or disability should not be a barrier in life or work". The parent carers that for the NNPCF have offered to work with the government to help this vision become a reality. Click here to read the full response.


To get involved in any of these activities, and share your skills with us, visit our Contact Us page.

For any materials, visit our Resources page.

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