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People who can help you prepare for adult life

Preparing for adult life (PfAL) service

The preparing for adult life (PfAL) service is responsible for ensuring young people make a smooth transition into adult social services.

The PfAL service carries out assessments under the Care Act 2014, when it is likely that the young person will have needs for care and support after they turn 18.

If a young person under 18 needs care and support, this should be sought through Children's Services.

If there are questions about a young person's education, speak to the school or college directly or if the young person has an EHCP, their EHCP Coordinator.

More information about the Post 16 travel scheme.

Where a PfAL worker has reasonable grounds to consider that a young person does not have mental capacity to make a specific decision we will carry out an assessment under the Mental Capacity Act 2014. If they are deemed to not have capacity we will carry out a Best Interest decision meeting.


We accept referrals if:

  • Your young person is 14-17-years old. They can be referred at 13-years-old, if the referral follows an education, health and care (EHC) plan review in Year 9.
  • Your young person has a disability. This could be a learning disability, mental health needs, autism or physical disability.
  • Your young person is likely to need support from adult social services (under the Care Act 2014), to achieve their identified eligible care and support needs.

Making a referral

If your young person with SEND is 14 to 17 years old, ask their allocated social worker or family practitioner, if they have one, to make the referral.

Alternatively, you or another professional can make a referral by calling 0344 800 8020.

If your young person is 18 years old or older, make a referral to adult social care services by calling 0344 800 8020.

If a referral is accepted, the young person will have a PfAL conversation and then before they are 18 years old, a Care Act assessment.

If a referral to PfAL is not accepted the decision will have been based on the information provided in the referral and through subsequent discussions.  It means we feel that the young person is not likely to require support through Adult Social Services. However as part of feedback to the referrer, alternative support services and pathways will normally be suggested.

PfAL conversations

For young people aged 14 to 16, the service will have PfAL conversations. This focuses on:

  • getting to know the young person
  • their aspirations and ideas about how they can work towards developing their independence
  • the four PfAL outcomes, including employment for young people who want it

Often, a PfAL Planning Co-ordinator will carry this out. We will do this on a yearly basis, unless otherwise agreed or we start a care act assessment.

The PfAL Service can only put in place support packages for young people after they turn 18. For young people under 18, help should be sought through Children's Services.

PfAL workers will not usually be able to attend meetings about the young person between PfAL planning work.

Care Act assessment conversations

If the young person is likely to have care and support needs as an adult, we will carry out a transition assessment. This is in line with our duties under the Care Act 2014.

The timing of this will vary. This is because it needs completing at the time of most significant benefit for the young person. This is often when the young person is 17 years old or older.

We follow the adult social care living well approach, which is a strengths based approach. This means that we seek to connect the young person to resources such as universal services. We also make use of existing strengths and support to enable the young person to achieve their outcomes wherever possible.

Whether a Care and Support Plan is put in place for a young person over the age of 18, depends on the outcome of the assessment. If the young person requires a commissioned service, we aim to have the Care and Support Plan agreed, where appropriate, before they turn 18 years old.

Schools, colleges and other professionals must not suggest day service and other types of provision to families as this may not be agreed. If a day service is agreed, the young person would ordinarily be expected to attend their nearest day service.

Any potential Care and Support Plans go through a management authorisation process before they can be implemented. The approval of day services for young people over 18 following a Care Act assessment is the responsibility of Adult Social Care and is based on meeting eligible care needs.

If the young person is eligible for our help, we'll do a financial assessment with you. This tells us how much the young person needs to contribute towards their care costs. The young person will get a copy of our financial assessment. If the young person has less than £23,250 in savings and capital, they'll get financial help from us towards their care and support costs.

A Direct Payment can be used to meet the agreed needs as outlined in the individual's care plan. This can include Personal Assistants and Day Services. This increases flexibility and control so care can be arranged in a way that best suits the young person's lifestyle and needs.

Adult Social Care transport is not in itself an eligible social care need but is a means of accessing other services or support. The overriding principle is that the decision to provide transport is based on a person's individual circumstances including needs, risks, outcomes, and promoting independence. There is an expectation that in the first instance, service users will meet their own needs for transport to access and take advantage of services, or support to facilitate them.

How we allocate

We look at new referrals each week and will contact the referrer to advise whether we have accepted the referral, or to request more information if needed.

A PfAL practitioner or assistant practitioner will be allocated to the young person as soon as possible and appropriate. We send an introduction letter to the young person and/or their family when a worker is allocated, so that they know who their worker will be.

We usually allocate a worker based on where the young person goes to school or college to enable those education settings to build strong relationships with their link PfAL workers.

When a young person turns 18, the PfAL practitioner/assistant practitioner is the responsible worker for your young person in relation to care and support. If there are any safeguarding concerns involving your young person, these too will be dealt with by the PfAL team.

If the young person needs ongoing support from adult social care, then the case will remain with the PfAL worker until the young person's situation is stable and there is a clear plan in place as to how any future transitions will be managed (eg when the young person leaves education). At this stage the PfAL team will transfer the young person's case to the relevant adult social care team.

How we work with other professionals

Our focus is on planning for what will happen when the young person turns 18. This means that professionals from Children's Services and education should remain involved if support is required for the young person's current situation.

Given this focus, PfAL workers have to prioritise attendance at meetings for young people aged under 18 and will often need to send apologies and gather information from the minutes of the meeting.

For young people seeking employment, the PfAL workers will work alongside services such as Norfolk Employment Service, Local Supported Employment and Working Well Norfolk who can help young people move in to employment.

Information about assistive technology, a range of electronic gadgets to help young people seeking to live independently in their own home, can also be provided from the age of 14.

Parent/Carer Assessments

The PfAL practitioner/assistant practitioner will consider the needs of any family members or others who are informal carers or young carers for the young person. Carers Matter Norfolk (CMN) can provide support to both adult and young carers and PfAL staff should make all carers aware of the support that they offer. If an adult carer's assessment is needed under The Care Act, then the PfAL Service will undertake this or if appropriate refer to CMN to do it.

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