The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 (ASP Act) applies to over-16s. It is recognised that there is a risk that those between 16 and 18 are potentially vulnerable to falling between gaps in services.
Cases can only be dealt with under the ASP Act if the person meets the criteria as an adult at risk of harm.
The ASP Act – Section 3(1) defines an adult at risk as adults who:
- are unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interests;
- are at risk of harm, and
- because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity, are more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected.
It is therefore essential that when young people aged 15 -17 who are being dealt with under child protection procedures are being considered for transition into adult services that the children and families team leader opens dialogue with the appropriate team leader for adult services and that both the adult protection and child protection co-ordinator’s are informed. A transition plan needs to be developed at the earliest appropriate time. Discussion can then usefully take place as to:
- whether the young person meets the criteria
- If there are any capacity issues
- If the ASP Act is appropriate
- The differences between children at risk of harm and adults at risk of harm and the implications for processes and outcomes
The adult services team leader will attend child protection case conferences as required to discuss the above issues and input into the transition plan. If it appears statutory measures under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 might be required (at age 16) a mental health officer one will attend. Child protection care plans should clearly outline how the transition should be managed to ensure that safety and protection issues are addressed and there is no disruption to service continuity.