Early Help guidance for professionals

What is early help?

Early help means providing help and support to a child, young person or their family as soon as it is identified they need additional help and support. This could be at any point in a child/ young person’s life e.g. pre-birth right the way through to 18 years of age and more than once as we know children’s needs change as they grow and develop and their family circumstances can change. By us providing or helping a family access help and support at the earliest opportunity we can supporting children and young people to meeting their full potential and trying to stop challenges or difficulties they are facing from escalating for them and their family.

Working Together 2018 identifies that: “effective early help relies upon local organisations and agencies working together to:

  • identify children and families who would benefit from early help
  • undertake an assessment of the need for early help
  • provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to improve the outcomes for the child

Local authorities, under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, have a responsibility to promote inter-agency co-operation to improve the welfare of all children. Local organisations and agencies should have in place effective ways to identify emerging problems and potential unmet needs of individual children and families. Local authorities should work with organisations and agencies to develop joined-up early help services based on a clear understanding of local needs. This requires all practitioners, including those in universal services and those providing services to adults with children, to understand their role in identifying emerging problems and to share information with other practitioners to support early identification and assessment”.