What is Early Help?
Early Help is the support provided for children, young people and their families to respond when difficulties emerge or to stop problems developing in the future. This support can be provided at any point in a child’s life to stop small problems getting bigger.
Early Help support is a partnership approach. All agencies that work with children, young people and families are responsible for listening to your concerns and worries. They will work closely with you to make sure that you and your family get the right support at the right time.
Why would I want Early Help?
- You are worried about your or your child or family member’s health, development, behaviour or how things are going at school
- You are worried about money or housing and how it is affecting your family
- You or your child or family is affected by domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol or crime
- You have had bereavement in the family that has made life challenging
- You are caring for a disabled child or you are a young person caring for other people
Where can I get Early Help?
If you feel you and your family might need support to solve some problems, you can ask someone in your life that you trust about Early Help. This could be a teacher, GP, Health Visitor, nursery practitioner, or any other practitioner supporting you. Or you can contact the Integrated Front Door on 01274 433999 (Practitioners), 0800 953 0966 (members of the public) – Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm or Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm.What will happen when I ask for Early Help?
The person you ask for help will talk with you about the problems you’re experiencing. They will ask what help and support you think you might need. After this conversation they may suggest completing an Early Help Assessment (EHA) or they will identify the right person to do this with you.
The EHA is nothing to be worried about. It can start with a conversation to work out how together we can stop small problems turning into big problems. It is good to talk about things that are going well and things that you’re proud of, as well as things that you are finding difficult to sort out. Together we’ll agree what to write down so there is a record of what is working well and what you are worried about. This will help us plan what we need to do next.
What will happen next?
What happens next will be different for every family or young person. Often the next step is to speak with people from different agencies (for example, your school, GP or youth worker) who know you and your family, as they may be able to help plan the next steps or give additional support. We will only contact people from different agencies with your consent.
It is helpful for everyone to meet together to agree the support plan and how each member of the meeting will contribute towards the plan. This meeting is known as the Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting.What happens at the TAF meeting?
The TAF meeting brings together people you know and those who can offer support. Together, they can help you and your family find ways to solve any problems you are having.
- You can say who you want to come to the meeting
- During the meeting we will agree who the most appropriate person is to the lead the support plan. They will be known as the ‘Lead Practioner’
- A support plan will be put in place with your agreement
What is a Lead Practitioner?
The Lead Practitioner will be your main point of contact. They will co-ordinate the TAF meeting and make sure you know what is happening.
- You or your family can help to choose the Lead Practitioner
- They will know your situation so you won’t have to repeat yourself
- They will ensure that the support plan is followed and that you receive the right advice and support
- If the Lead Practitioner requires additional advice and support they can contact the Early Help hubs
Information for parents
Information for professionals
If you are a professional, you may find these pages useful: