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What preparation can you do yourself?

Think about where your young person will live

There are many different housing options available and lots of things to consider to make sure your young person is happy and fully looked after. It helps to start thinking about things like:

  • How much independence can your young person attain?
  • What level of care assistance, if any, will they need?
  • Which locations are best?
  • What do you need an independent living service to provide?
  • Who would your young person like to live with?

The national Preparing for Adulthood website has an independent living page with case studies on how independent housing has given young people with SEND invaluable life skills.

Think about staying safe online

Your young person may be using the internet for things like playing games, sending messages, connecting with friends, and looking up information.

Tips for internet safety

Have a chat with your young person, reminding them to:

  • be careful about who they chat to, as you never really know who you are talking to online
  • be careful about sharing information about themselves online or sending photos
  • keep their passwords and bank details a secret - no one should be asking for this information in an email for example. This is called a scam.
  • If someone or something they have seen makes them feel scared or uncomfortable online, tell someone they trust immediately - such as a teacher, parent/carer, or trusted adult.

There are organisations that can help with resources and information on staying safe online:

  • NSPCC - information and tips on how to keep children safe online
  • BullyingUK - advice on what to do if you are being bullied on social media
  • ChildLine - advice on online bullying and keeping your devices safe
  • SaferNet - advice for staying safe online if you have learning disabilities.

However your young person uses the internet, it's important to consider how you'll prepare them to keep themselves safe online.

Think about money and the benefits available to you

There may be funding options available to support your young person. If your young person is eligible for adult social services support you'll be able to discuss your situation with the Money Advice Unit. They can help give advice on the best options available to you.


When people turn 16 they usually become responsible for any benefits they claim. Some people can't manage this, so a family member or a carer becomes an 'apointee'.

This means that they will make claims, give information that's required, and inform of any changes that may affect your entitlement to benefits. The benefits will be paid to them on your behalf.

Become an appointee

Make sure to keep all receipts from the age your child is 17 - 18, so you don't miss out on funding which your child can get when they turn 18.

Care assessments

Every young person is entitled to a care assessment which gives them the opportunity to discuss their situation with a professional who can then offer advice to make the transition to adulthood easier.

Young people can refer themselves for an assessment, or be referred by their family, carer or by a professional.

The assessment reviews whether a young person might need extra help managing day-to-day tasks, and whether they might be able to get support from the local authority.

To request an assessment you can talk to your social worker or contact the 0-25 together service.

The Mental Capacity Act

If a young person lacks mental capacity to make decisions about their EHCP, their parent/carer should tell the local authority that they will be acting as their representative. This must all be done in line with the Mental Capacity Act.

More about The Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act affects decision-making for all people aged 16 and over who can't make some or all decisions by themselves. The issue of capacity can only be assessed in relation to a particular decision that needs to be made at a particular time. This stops blanket assessments of someone’s ability to make decisions based on their disability. It also recognises that someone may be able to make some decisions but not others. For example, someone can lack capacity to make complex financial decisions or consent to medical treatment, but have the capacity to decide what they would like to eat.

When assessing capacity to make a decision, it is important to consider whether a person is able to:

  • understand the information about the decision
  • remember that information
  • use that information to make a decision
  • communicate their decision (whether by talking, using sign language or any other means)

When someone is judged not to have the capacity to make a decision, that decision can be taken for them, and it must be in their best interests. The process of making a best-interest decision should be led by the person who requires the decision to be made; e.g. a doctor who requires consent before carrying out treatment. Consulting with others is a vital part of best interest decision-making, and the Mental Capacity Act requires the involvement of carers and family members.

A young person must always be supported to be involved as much as possible in a decision made on their behalf, even if they do not have the capacity to make it themselves.

Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in partnership with Irwin Mitchell have produced a leaflet to help individuals who feel that they are not being appropriately consulted about the welfare of their loved ones.

Housing options

Living at home with your family

You could stay at home with your family, and have support workers who help you to stay independent. This is called home care. Support workers can come to your home for 24 hour care, or just a few hours, on a short or long term basis.

This type of care is often provided by home care agencies. You may be eligible for help towards the cost of home care. You'll need to contact the 0-25 together service to request an assessment.

You may need to pay some money towards your care based on your income.

Buying your own home

You can get help with buying a house through a shared ownership scheme. The housing association will buy the property using a grant, and then sell a share of it to you. The rent, service charge and interest payments on your mortgage might be met by eligible benefits.

You'll need to be claiming medium to higher level disability living allowance (DLA) to get this option.

Shelter offer free housing advice for any housing issues

Supported living

You could have your own flat in a supported living community, or rent a room in a shared house with other people who also access support.

The local authority will fund the care that is in your social care assessment. If you earn enough money, you'll need to pay for the rent yourself. If you don't earn enough, you could apply for housing benefit.

Shared Lives

People who need extra support could live in a carer's family home instead of going into residential care. You could apply for housing benefit to meet the cost of rent.

Residential care

Residential care is an option usually reserved for high needs, emergencies, and some types of specific health needs where you'll need 24 hour supported living.

Your main living costs such as rent and food are included, so most of your income will go to pay for your care, with a small amount of money to spend each week on personal items.

Page was last published on: 01/07/2020 15:49:33

What services are available?

YC Hertfordshire's Independent Living Skills

YC Hertfordshire's Independent Living Skills programme

YC Hertfordshire runs an independent living skills programme for young people who are in care or are care leavers.

It covers:

  • home cooking skills
  • managing your money and budgeting
  • establishing healthy relationships
  • healthy living
  • managing your emotional wellbeing
  • keeping yourself safe
  • learning DIY skills

When you've completed a subject area you will receive a City and Guilds qualification, which will enhance your CV.

Learn more or apply for this programme.

Home Adaptations

To help you stay independent you may be able to get special equipment or home adaptations to help at home. A home adaptation might include for example installing a wheelchair ramp to make it easier for you to get around, or a safety rail in the bathroom.

Foundations - The national co-ordinating body for Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs)

Assistive technology

You could also look into assistive technology to help you access a computer and/or the internet. Devices typically include:

  • Input devices – special keyboards, adapted mouse, switches
  • communication devices
  • visual enhancement devices
  • hearing enhancement equipment
  • mobility aids
  • memory and cognition aids.

Travel passes

You could look into applying for a disabled bus pass and benefit from free bus travel across the county.

You could also look into applying for a Disabled Persons Railcard.

A disabled person’s railcard gets the card holder, and the person travelling with them, 1/3 off the price of their train ticket.

You can get one if you:

  • Receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
  • Receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either: the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or the higher or middle rate for the care component
  • Have a visual impairment
  • Have a hearing impairment


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