Youth In Transition

Youth in Transition

What is transition?

For youth with special needs and their families transition refers to the move from childhood to adult life. To create a smooth transition from childhood to adult life families need to begin transition planning long before a youth turns 19.

What is transition planning?

Transition planning is the process of preparing for the move from one phase of life to another. Transition planning includes accessing informal community supports and developing support networks.

Government currently has four Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) sites around the province to assist transitioning youth and their families coordinate access to the range of government services that may be available. Click here to learn more.

Transitioning to adult life is important and often challenging for youth and their families. When youth have special needs, transition planning is needed. There are many opportunities, supports and services that youth and their families will learn about which may be appropriate or needed for adult life. Community Living BC (CLBC) works in collaboration with youth and their families and other government organizations and ministries to support youth transitioning to adulthood.

For some youth, transition planning includes applying for CLBC adult services. CLBC provides a range of community living supports and services to eligible adults to assist them to live as fully and independently as possible in the community.

To view the Information Sheet for Families on Youth in Transition, please click here.

To see a video interview about transition planning, please click here.


When should transition planning start with CLBC?

Transition planning with CLBC should begin after a youth’s 16th birthday. Starting this process early is important because it takes time to complete each step. It is best to begin the first step after a youth turns 16 because it sometimes takes several weeks or even months to get all the required documents to CLBC.

The process of getting services through CLBC has 3 steps:

Step 1: Show that the person is eligible for CLBC adult services

Criteria for Eligibility

Developmental Disability

An adult has:

  • significantly impaired intellectual functioning
  • significantly impaired adaptive functioning
  • these limitations must have started before age 18

Personalized Supports Initiative

An adult who does not have a developmental disability but has:

  • significant limitation in adaptive functioning,

and either

  • a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum (FASD) or
  • a diagnosis of a Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD is officially referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorder)

After a youth’s 16th birthday, youth and their family can apply to CLBC for services.

  • CLBC has two sets of criteria for eligibility. To be eligible a person must meet the criteria for either a developmental disability or the Personalized Supports Initiative. CLBC requires specific documentation for eligibility. Please see Eligibility Information for Families to learn about the documents that need to be submitted to CLBC for eligibility. (To receive CLBC services a person must be 19 years of age or older but eligibility can be confirmed after their 16th birthday.)
  • After all required documents for eligibility have been sent to CLBC, a CLBC staff person called a facilitator will review the documents and contact you to tell you if the youth is eligible for CLBC adult services or to let you know if further information is needed.

Step 2: Learn about CLBC and tell CLBC about your family member and their support needs

After a youth’s 17th birthday, youth and their family members will need to:

  • Meet with a CLBC facilitator who can provide information about the types of CLBC funded services and funding options
  • Learn about CLBC processes (including processes for requesting services and planning)

Provide information to the CLBC facilitator about their circumstances and the kind of support that the youth may need when they are an adult. The facilitator will record this information and submit a Request for Services for CLBC funded services for in the future (for when the youth is an adult).  Please see Information for Families on Requesting CLBC Services.

Step 3: Develop a plan for adult life which may include CLBC funded services

After a youth’s 18th birthday, youth and their family members may need to:

  • Meet with a CLBC facilitator who can provide information about planning and explain when an Individual Support Plan is required for CLBC funded services. Please see the Information for Families about Planning
  • Develop a plan for adult life which may include CLBC funded services

Starting early is a good idea. CLBC would like to confirm eligibility for youth transitioning to adulthood as soon after their 16th birthday as possible. The ages provided above are suggested guidelines but sometimes people do not start the process till later. Once you begin the process, a CLBC facilitator can provide you with information about the next steps that are needed for your situation.


Other areas to explore for planning

Transition planning includes exploring a broad range of opportunities and support and services available to adults, in addition to applying for CLBC services. Organizations and ministries that serve youth take the lead in initiating and supporting transition planning. If youth are accessing Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) supports and services an MCFD worker can provide assistance to youth and their families for transition planning and applying for adult services including CLBC services.


Collaborative Cross-Ministry Support for Youth in Transition

CLBC works in collaboration with youth, their families and other government organizations and ministries to support youth transitions. The Cross Ministry Transition Planning Protocol for Youth with Special Needs describes how youth and their families and the nine government organizations work together.

The protocol outlines the components of a transition planning process that starts by age 14 and identifies the Roles and Tasks for Transition Planning Team Members.

For more information regarding the Cross Ministry Transition Planning Protocol for Youth with Special Needs see the Fact Sheet and Question and Answers.


 Service to Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) offers a navigator service for transitioning youth and their families. Navigators will act as the primary point of contact for individuals to coordinate planning and access to supports and services through periods of transition.  Navigators are actively involved in their communities looking for new opportunities to better support individuals.

For more information about STADD, please click here.

To increase awareness and understanding of the role of STADD Navigators in improving the experience of youth and young adults with developmental disabilities during the transition to adulthood, two new videos have been developed, and can be viewed at the links below:


Government Services

Key government organizations that assist in the transition to adulthood include:

BC Housing – administers subsidized housing and programs that offer housing options.

Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD) – provides a range of support and services for youth with special needs and their families. For more information and transition resources, please visit Into Adulthood.

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MSDSI)

  • MSDSI provides education and support payments, employment programs, bus passes and health and dental benefits for persons with disabilities and Income Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (PWD). MSD has special procedures in place so that young people with disabilities can complete the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation application process six months before their 18th birthday. There are also special procedures in place for transitioning from At Home Medical Benefits to Adult Disability Assistance.
  • The Advocate for Service Quality who can assist transitioning youth with special needs and their families have access to supports and services that are available. The Advocate can help with services from the Ministry of Social Development, from other ministries, CLBC or from service agencies in the community. The Advocate works in collaboration with, but independently of CLBC, the Ministries Social Development, Children and Family Development, Health, and other ministries as required.

Ministry of Advanced Education – education services to adults with disabilities. Education Planner also provides comprehensive information about post-secondary education in BC.

Ministry of Health Services – home and community care for adults who have acute, chronic, palliative or rehabilitative health care needs.

Ministry of Education – leadership and funding to the K-12 education system.

Public Safety and Solicitor General – the Crime Victim Assistance Program provides financial assistance and benefits to victims of an injury due to violent crime.

Public Guardian and Trustee – acts as co-guardian with the Ministry of Children and Family Development or Delegated Aboriginal Child and Family Service Agencies for youth under Continuing Custody Orders (CCOs), and is responsible for the protection of the financial and legal interests of children and youth under a CCO. Also, provides consultation and/or services to adults who may not be mentally capable of managing their own personal, health care, legal and/or financial affairs.

Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) – STADD offers an integrated system of supports to meet the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. STADD helps individuals and families with the transition planning process. With the help of a STADD navigator, making big decisions for the future can be less stressful.

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