Headlines: September 3rd, 2010

New research says young adults who have complex needs feel abandoned by public services when they reach 18. The report has been produced by Young People in Focus, a member of the Transition to Adulthood Alliance, to highlight what it sees as a lack of provision.

The study found that young adults were at risk of falling through the gap between child and adult services, because they were not ready to cope alone. The report, called made To Measure, is based on interviews and evidence from six projects and services set up to support young people with complex needs. The aim is to help other service providers work more effectively with this age group.

Rob Allen, chair of the T2A Alliance, said: “Young people with complex needs are often offered a lot of support until they turn 18, when many services tail off and effectively abandon them.” The young people involved, he said, were often moving into adulthood in particularly challenging circumstances. They might lack role models or have been let down by families and professionals alike.”We need a systematic and tailored approach across the board for this age group,” he said.

The report provides 10 tips for service providers to help them tailor their work. They include working holistically to involve family, friends and other people who are important in young adults’ lives, and keeping the door open to young people even after they have moved on. The report’s author, Kerry Devitt, said the research had discovered small pockets of excellence dealing with 18 to 24-year-olds but this was not enough.