Section 58 of The Care Act 2014 places a duty on local authorities to carry out an assessment of a child’s needs, where this would be of ‘significant benefit’ to the child, and if it is likely they will have care and support needs when they turn 18.
The local authority has to provide support to enable you to plan ahead as your child approaches their 18th Birthday, so that there are no gaps in services.
You, or your young person, may request an assessment at any time ahead of their 18th Birthday. However, the local authority can be flexible with the timing of the assessment, and they decide whether and when there is ‘significant benefit’ to assessing needs.
If your child has an EHC plan, it is expected that preparation for adulthood begins from year 9, as part of their Annual Review.
Where a young person has Autism, they have a right to a community care assessment and their parents have a right to a carer’s assessment.
The duty lies with the SENCO (or in college with the named SEN person) to build this into ‘preparing for adulthood’ reviews.