Professional family support
Find information about how Early Help Services can support your family.
Early Help is a range of agencies who work together to support families when they face difficult issues or challenges.
Please be aware that we will need to record some information about you and the advice we give as this is not a help line and or anonymous service. Information will be recorded and held in line Worcestershire Children’s Services recording procedures and data protection.
What is Early Help?
Early Help in Worcestershire aims to make sure that services to support children, young people and their families are there when they need them.
Every family has its ups and downs. Being a parent is hard work and there are no instructions. Sometimes, you or your children may need extra support. This may be before your children are born, when they are very young, or throughout their school years. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help. Early Help helps you recognise what’s going well for you, where you may benefit from extra help, and who is the best person to work with you and your family to make this happen. This may be through an Early Help Assessment (EHA).
Why work with the whole family?
Early Help Support is for the whole family; children, young people and adults. We recognise you know your family best and when one person is facing a challenge it can affect others, and sometimes there is a significant life event that affects everyone. An offer of Early Help support will build on your strengths as individuals and as a family, it will recognise the support networks around you and help find what’s going on in your local community to continue to support you.
How will we work together?
The Early Help Assessment and Plan is helpful as it brings together different people who will be able to offer support to all the members of your family. Support could come from schools, health visitors, school nurses, nurseries, housing, substance misuse services, probation and a whole range of services available in the community.
How does it work?
You can ask for an assessment or someone you are in contact with may suggest one for you, for example your health visitor, housing officer or your child’s teacher. It is your choice whether to have an Early Help Assessment.
The first step – listening to you and discussing together
This is where the worker who you have asked for support from (sometimes called a Lead Professional) will ask about your strengths, any challenges you are having, and what extra support you think might help. An Early Help Assessment is used to review the needs of you and your family. Completing one is like writing a to-do list and putting a plan in place to achieve it. This means you don’t have to repeat your story to lots of different professionals.
The second step – Team Around the Family meeting (TAF) agreeing a plan together
The family and workers involved come together to make sure the Early Help Assessment contains all the information needed and to come up with a support plan. This is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place. At this meeting, you may want to choose a different Lead Professional. This can be any one of the people working with your family – you might choose the worker you see most often, or the person you find most approachable.
The third step – checking we all did what we said we would and finding out if it helped
Your Lead Professional will arrange the review meetings, this is where everyone will come back together to review progress and make sure the plan is working.
Will it be confusing having all those services involved?
The Lead Professional will be responsible for co-ordinating the support. This is someone who already knows you and your family, or that will quickly get to know you. They will be your main contact and will keep you informed about what is happening. They will listen to you and make sure your views are represented.
If there is an agency you don’t want to share your information with, or if there is someone in your family who doesn’t want to be involved, there are ways we can work around this. Don’t let that be a reason not to have Early Help Support for you and your family.
What do I have to do?
Early Help Support relies on us all working together. Everyone must keep their word about what they agree to do. For this to work well, try to keep appointments and be open and honest about you and your child’s situation. Speak to your Lead Professional if you are finding it difficult to attend an appointment or meeting. Ask questions and be as involved as you can to make sure the Early Help Support has all the right people and services involved to get the best possible results for you and your family.
Who will have information about me?
Only workers who need to know about you will have information about you. However, there may be times when the people working with you need to share the information.
- when they need to find out urgently if a child or young person is at risk of serious harm
- to help a child, young person or adult who is at risk of harm
- to help prevent or detect a serious crime
How can I find out more?
If you think Early Help Support is right for you and your family, you can talk to any service you are already involved with, for example, a health visitor, a school or any kind of worker linked to your family.
Remember any agency can help support you and your family.
- police officers and PCSOs
- probation services
- youth justice
- housing support officers
- teachers, teaching assistants and SENDCOs
- health visitors, midwives, paediatric nurses, school nurses and GPs
- social prescribers
- community connectors
- young carers
- nursery staff
- youth workers
- personal assistants for care leavers
- fire fighters
- parenting practitioners
- after school club staff
- parents and carers, grandparents, extended family network and neighbours
- places of worship
- youth justice
- voluntary and Community organisations
Some of the people who work for these agencies may already be supporting your family. Please speak to them about how they can best support you if you feel you need extra support. Often asking a friend or family member to support you is a good first step, and someone who can support you get help from an Early Help agency.