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Steps to prepare for adult life (PfAL)

Thinking about the future

This preparing for adult life step-by-step guide is for families of young people with additional needs. It outlines the transition process in Norfolk, as a young person moves on from children's services.

This guide takes you through steps that you can follow with your young person, to help you both prepare for their life as an adult.

It is never too soon for your young person to start thinking about what they might want and need once they become an adult. It is important that you both consider the skills and support they will need as early as possible.

Moving on documents

Preparing for adult life planning tools, advice and guidance

It is never too early to start having conversations with your young person about what they want their future to look like. It is also important to start investigating what support and services might be available.

Planning tools

The National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi) person-centred planning tools, can be used when you are discussing things with your young person. They can help you think about what you should consider and can be useful to keep as a record. Tools include:

  • Coping strategies planning tool
  • Planning my future life booklet
  • Vocational profile document

Useful advice and guidance

You can search and find services in the Norfolk Community Directory.

This website also contains lots of helpful information on:

You can also download helpful guidance for parents, carers and young people.

Our SEND Local Offer for children and young people section of our website, has been designed for young people aged 10-25-years-old. It contains Easy Read information and videos.

Making a PfAL plan

From when your young person is aged 13-14-years-old, they should think about their main goals and wishes, and the outcomes they would like in:

  • Education and employment
  • Independent living
  • Good health
  • Being part of their community
  • Having friends and relationships

If your young person has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, this should be recorded in their Year 9 preparing for adult life (PfAL) review

You may have a worker from the PfAL service. If you do, they will also help you through a 'preparing for adult life conversation'. This may involve agreeing on a PfAL plan together. 

You can also use the planning tools listed in step two.

Knowing who can help you

From when your young person is 14-15-years old, it is important that everyone knows what they need to do to help them achieve their goals. This may include tasks for: 

  • Your young person
  • You and your family
  • Carers
  • Professionals who work with your young person, such as teachers, or a social worker if they have one

Find out about different services and professionals from education, health and social care who can help you.

Making applications and referrals

From when your young person is 14-16-years-old, it is important that applications are made for things like places at college. Read our parent and carer guide to planning for college or training. There are also other sources of advice and guidance listed in step two.

It is also important that relevant organisations know about your young person and that they might need some support. This could be:

  • Schools
  • Further education providers
  • Training providers
  • Social care teams
  • Health departments 

Your young person's school or college, guidance adviser, EHC plan coordinator, or preparing for adult life (PfAL) service worker can help you with this. There should be regular reviews to check that progress is being made.

Reviewing the preparing for adult life plan

From when your young person is aged 15-17-years-old, everyone who is supporting your young person should get together and meet with them, you and your family regularly.

This is to ensure that the preparing for adult life (PfAL) plan is enabling your young person to make progress toward the identified outcomes. It is important to check if anything has changed and that everything is in place for when they need it.

Plans do sometimes change. Thoughts on college places, the need for independent travel skills, understanding money, available funding and benefits, and your young person's health needs or provision might change as they get older.  

You can always contact services who can help for advice and information. You can also find other sources of advice and guidance listed in step two.  

Formal assessments

From age 16-17–years-old, your young person will have formal assessments to understand what needs they will have as an adult. These assessments will consider how adult services in health, education, social care and other services can support your young person to meet their needs.

In Norfolk, the preparing for adult life (PfAL) service is responsible for carrying out transition Care Act assessments. This is to determine if your young person will need support after the age of 18 from adult social services. If your young person is eligible, a care and support plan will be made to ensure there are no gaps in the help your young person receives. 


Different services and providers

From when your young person is aged 16-19–years-old, they will move on to different services and providers. This can include:

The previous planning should mean that you and your young person know what to expect and that these changes are as smooth as possible.

Meeting complex needs

Your young person will have been assessed for and set up with a care and support plan, if eligible, before they turned 18-years-old. This will have been by a formal assessment, which is explained more fully in formal assessments.

For more information about services that support complex health needs, download our being healthy as an adult guide (PDF) [1MB]

Accessing universal services

From when your young person is aged 16-25–years-old, there are lots of mainstream and universal voluntary services and support organisations that can help if they do not qualify for specialist services.

Your young person's college or training provider can help you connect with these. Or search the Norfolk Community Directory for more information.

You might also want to refer back to the information and advice resources that are listed in step two.


If your young person aged 18-25-years-old has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, this should be regularly reviewed, EHC plan annual review. This is to ensure that it continues to meet their needs and adult outcomes.

If your young person has adult social care needs these should also be reviewed, reviewing care needs. You can contact the adult social care team if you think your young person's needs have changed and they need a different level of care and support. 

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