‘A Practical Guide to Transitions From Child to Adult Social Care’ by Jacqueline Thomas KC


Paperback: 978-1-913715-78-6
Published: September 2021
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Young people aged 14 – 25 who have spent time in the care system, face a confusing network of legal provisions and procedures when it comes to the transition to adult social or health care services. Often the route through a problem isn’t clear to those trying to support the young person, either family or social workers, and at times the lawyers involved as well. For those with additional needs and vulnerabilities such as learning disabilities or autism, the transition to adulthood is too often a minefield for the young person and those around them.

With increasing and ongoing financial constraints in the field of social care being applied to both the child care and adult systems, it has become ever more difficult for families and social workers to navigate the pathway from a child in care to an adult with additional needs for support. There is a myriad of legislation purporting to assist with the move from one system to the other, all of which overlaps and some of which contradicts. In addition, government policy produces rhetoric aimed at smoothing the path from one system to another, but with sometimes little practical effect.

The transition from child care services to adult social care brings with it competing obligations under the Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act 2014, as well as the interface with the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and the accompanying guidance. There are also those instances when no legislation assists and it is necessary to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court. The spider web of the various provisions and procedures require a practitioner to navigate several strands at once, often beyond their immediate speciality.

This book aims to create a pathway through the process, in order to ensure that the rights of the young people and their families are properly met and the public bodies meet their obligations. The text aims to draw together the different pieces of legislation and policy in order to provide the reader with a collective understanding of the procedures that may be relevant for the young people and families that they support in their professional lives.


Jacqueline Thomas KC is joint Head of Chambers at Spire Barristers, Leeds. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2020 with 20 years experience in the field of family law, Jacqueline was appointed a Recorder in 2018 and sits in the Family Court. Her practice encompasses all courts but she has an extensive practice in Public Law Children matters in the High Court and also practices in the Court of Protection, before all tiers of Judges, with a focus on health and welfare applications. Her work within the two jurisdictions leads her to be instructed regularly in cases that overlap the two areas of law, or fall within the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court.

One such area are those cases involving older children and teenagers who have been looked after children and will have additional support needs as adults, either due to mental capacity issues or other needs for services. As a result of her work in this area, Jacqueline lectures on the subject for Keele University where she is a visiting lecturer, and also for MBL lectures. She is a trustee of the Spire Foundation, a charity working to improve the outcomes for care experienced families and is the co-author of ‘Family Justice Reformed’ (2014 2nd ed).



Chapter One – Legislative Framework

Chapter Two – Funding Considerations
– Ordinary Residence

Chapter Three – Court Applications – The Range of Jurisdictions and Applicable Orders
– Children Act orders for older teenagers.
– Wardship
– Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Court of Protection
– Forced Marriage Protection Orders

Chapter Four – Deprivation of Liberty for Young Adults
– Orders pursuant to the Children Act 1989 s.25
– The inherent jurisdiction
– Unregulated placements

Chapter Five – Vulnerability Beyond the Age of 18 Years

Chapter Six – Forthcoming Reforms