UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Transitions for Young People Using Services

Moving on: Transitions for young people using health and social care services

The period leading up to and following a young person leaving care is characterised by multiple transitions. Compared with the general population, care leavers are expected to live independently early. Formal planning starts shortly after their 16th birthday, and their transition from children's services usually happens at age 18. This transition is underpinned by a legal framework structured and experienced through their local authority's approach, the availability of housing and their relationships with the social care, education and health systems. Their transitions tend compress decision-making over a much shorter period than that experienced by their non looked-after peers.

What are we doing ?

  • Exploring young people's experiences of leaving children's services across health and social care.
  • Exploring their understanding of the term 'transition'.
  • Considering whether young people get the opportunity to participate in their transition planning as described in policy documents.
  • Providing young people with the opportunity to participate in a research project in which the Department of Health has an interest.

We intend to do this by:

  • setting up one or, if numbers permit, two groups of young people who are about to move, are currently moving, or have recently moved out of children's services, across health and social care.
  • meeting with these group(s) 3-4 times in order to establish a deliberative and participative approach.
  • discussing with them the terms 'transition' and 'participation' - what these terms mean to them, and what they think they mean to service providers.
  • finding out whether the young people view themselves as participating in their transitions. If so, how? If not, what might have enabled their participation?
  • considering young peoples' experiences against local and national policies for good transitional care and participation.
  • providing support for those young people who want to know more about the research process.

Why is it important ?

The increased level of awareness of transition amongst practitioners and policy makers, and recent legislation and guidelines to support it, means that this is a good time to consider how young people are experiencing their move out of children's services.

Children's Policy Research Unit

Main contact

Research team

  • Helen Roberts
  • Kristin Liabo, UCL Institute of Education
  • Anne Ingold


  • Department of Health via the Children's Policy Research Unit response mode funding

Project dates

  • November 2014 - December 2015