The below information aims to clarify the process of how a practitioner can refer a child, young person or family they're working with for Early Help support.
1) Identify: There is no perceived risk of significant harm to a child or young person, but you have identified a need for support
Early Help can be provided for a child, young person or family who may have additional needs that cannot be met by universal provision, and there is perceived to be no risk of significant harm. If you believe a child or young person is at risk of significant hard, contact the Children's Social Care Access Centre.
2) Notify: With consent from the family, request support by completing the Early Help Notification form and send it to the Early Help Hub
As of mid-November, the Early Help Notification form will be able to complete online, via the Early Help Hub website. Until then, the form can be downloaded. It is a 2-page document that allows you to identify brief information about the family, and the reasons you are requesting support from an early help service. You must receive consent from the parent. Once completed, it can be emailed or posted to the Early Help Hub.
Note: If you have an existing working relationship with a district 0-19 Early Help Provider you can liaise directly with them (e.g.10.32 or Redditch Borough Council). The Early Help Provider will be expected to complete the Early Help Notification with you and liaise with the Early Help Hub where necessary. Similarly, if your referral is for a child aged 5-13 years, and you have an existing working relationship with the Early Intervention Family Support team, you can liaise directly with them for support.
3) Refer: Early Help Hub advisors will refer the family to the most appropriate early help provider
To create a single view of the family, Early Help Hub advisors add any additional information available on the family to the Early Help Notification form. This may include any support they are already receiving, or any past or present involvement with Social Care. Using their knowledge and resource base, Early Help Hub advisors will identify the most appropriate early help provider to support and assess the family's needs.
4) Assess: The early help provider will contact the family and carry out an Early Help Assessment (previously known as CAF)
The Early Help Assessment is now a concise six page form that will assess the families' needs and identify the required outcomes. The early help provider will discuss the issues with the family, and find out how they would like their family life to look like.
5) Plan: The early help provider creates an Early Help Action Plan to set out how they will improve the situation for the family
The early help provider will work with the family to decide how the outcomes are going to be achieved. It could be that other agencies and support services need to become involved. In this case, the Integrated Working Co-ordinators (previously CAF Co-ordinators) could be used as a good sounding board to advise what other agencies available, and provide support in getting in contact with them.
6) Review: The Early Help Action Plan is reviewed by the early help provider and the family to monitor improvements and include any new issues as they arise.
The Early Help Action Plan is reviewed regularly by the early help provider and the family. If the outcomes that were set are reached, and the situation has improved for the family, work will finish. If the outcomes are not met, alternative ways of working will be considered including escalating the family to the District Access Panel (DAP). The DAP is made up of any professionals working with the family, as well as a representative from Social Care. The DAP can perhaps identify why the outcomes were not met, and discuss new ways in which the family can be supported. If help is needed to co-ordinate a DAP meeting, speak to your area Integrated Working Co-ordinator.