Transition is an exciting yet challenging time for young people and their families. For some, it is a time for finding new opportunities, setting goals, making decisions and moving on into adult life; for others, however, it is viewed with trepidation.

Many parents have told us that the scariest thing about transition is not knowing what’s out there once their child leaves children’s services. One parent I met suggested transition was like “falling off the edge of a cliff”, and this statement has been echoed by other families to the point where transition is now approached with apprehension, worry and anxiety.

A good transition process is about supporting the young person to integrate and be included in adult life; it is not just about negotiating that jump from children’s to adults’ services.

A person-centred approach to transition

A good transition process focuses on how the young person will:

  • access and participate in their local community
  • attend mainstream further education colleges
  • find paid jobs and voluntary work opportunities; and
  • access a range of local interest groups and activities.


At United Response, we model our transition projects and services on this idea, and have so far achieved some great outcomes for the young people we support.

For example: we support two young ladies in student accommodation in Cheshire. They attend their local mainstream college and are actively involved in student activities. One of the young ladies has just joined a choir as a soprano and the other has set up a dog-walking initiative. Just last week, the ladies invited their neighbours round for dinner and both cooked a three-course meal from scratch!

‘Progress’ is the magic word

When it comes to transition, there is nothing more important than ensuring young people progress. In the past, too many young adults have been ‘lost in transition’: they have drifted through key years of their lives, going on college course after college course without ever reaching their full potential.

For us, ‘progress’ is about ensuring young people continuously develop and improve their skills. Setting short- and long-term goals is key to transition planning, along with having a very practical, joined-up action plan to ensure those goals are achieved. The Life Star tool is an excellent way to monitor individual progress towards outcomes.

Five top transition tips

Transition is a time of change and change can be difficult. United Response has pulled together a five top tips resource, which is a good starting point for those beginning to think about transition and plan for the future. Download it here:

Lost in Transition?: 5 Top Tips

Find out if and how we can help you with your transition.

Amie Dobinson, North West development coordinator.