This week we are sharing a series of blog posts written by author and mother, Viki Ainsworth, who shares her experience of her daughter Tilly’s transition from children’s services to adult’s services. This is part 4, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here and part 3 here.
Stay tuned on our community Facebook page and Twitter account for each daily blog over the next week. You can also listen to a podcast on this topic recorded with Viki here>
Tilly’s final EHCP review at college was very early in her second year. She restarted in September and we had an appointment for the review sent through in November. Someone from the Social Care team was supposed to attend to assess her needs for post college, plus Youth Connexions to advise on what was available. Neither showed up. College insisted the Social Care team had been invited but they hadn’t chased it up. I would have chased them myself but there was no communication from college as to whose responsibility it was to ensure everyone attended.
There wasn’t a lot we could do, just Tilly’s tutor and I. The tutor had no idea about post college provision and there wasn’t a lot of point in going into detail with her EHCP as it wouldn’t be valid in a few months. After the meeting I received an email explaining that Tilly had had her transition meeting and that statutory requirements now meant she was on the pathway to post college life. I questioned whether this was actually valid as no one from the Social Care team had been present and we were none the wiser as to what life next year looked like for Tilly but I was told timings, legal requirements etc. meant it would have to stand.
I subsequently managed to arrange an informal meeting at college and this time someone from the Social Care team did attend, along with Youth Connexions. We had a discussion from which I took away that Tilly would need a care assessment to access finance for her next steps as the Education part of her EHCP would no longer be relevant and it would soon be null and void. Given how long I know these things take I was anxious that this happen as soon as possible. But as the weeks were ticking by and all I could see was Tilly back at home full time with no provision at all, I started to wonder whether I could press for another year at college for Tilly as she was thriving and it would give us time to properly research what else was available.
I rang the Social Care team. They were thrilled. Yes, brilliant, Tilly should stay at college. In other words, they wouldn’t be financially responsible for her for another year, she would still be covered by the education team. I rang college to ask how I could make that happen. Tilly’s tutor said it wouldn’t be possible, that pupils could only stay at college if there was proof of exceptional progress and as there wasn’t with Tilly she wasn’t entitled to stay.
There then followed a slightly surreal Mobeus strip of phone calls where the Social Care team suggested I ring college to secure another year there, college would refer me to Youth Connexions to find out what activities and provision were available to Tilly and Youth Connexions suggested I ring the Social Care team to try to get her care assessment done and Social Care would once again suggest I ring college.
All through this I didn’t have the name of anyone at County that could help me steer a way through. Tilly had never been assigned a social worker. I was tearing my hair out and the end of college was rapidly approaching.
Tune into the blog tomorrow to read about what happened next in Tilly’s story.