Early Help guidance for professionals
What is Early Help?
This Early Help guidance professionals page is here to provide information and guidance for Early Help agencies so they can support families to make positive change.
The Worcestershire’s Early Help Partnership believe that families who are identified as needing Early Help, are best supported by practitioners who are already working with them, alongside other agencies and services including the voluntary sector within their local community.
Early Help means providing help and support to a child, young person or their family as soon as it is identified that they need additional help and support. This could be at any point in a child or young person’s life e.g. pre-birth right the way through to 18 years of age (25 years of age for some SEND children) and more than once, as we know children’s needs change as they grow, and their family circumstances change.
By Early Help agencies providing or helping a family access help and support at the earliest opportunity, they are supporting children and young people to meet their full potential and trying to stop challenges or difficulties they are facing from escalating for them and their family
Early Help agencies can include but are not limited to
- Police officers and PCSOs
- Probation Services
- Housing Support Officers
- Designated Safeguarding Leads
- School/College Head Teachers
- Teaching Assistants
- Family Liaison Staff
- Sports Coaches
- Health Visitors
- Paediatric Nurses
- School Nurses
- Social Prescribers
- Community Connectors
- Young Carers GPs
- Personal Assistants for Care Leavers
- Nursery Nurses
- Fire Fighters
- Parenting Practitioners
- Places of Worship
- Youth Justice
- Extended family network
- After School Club staff
- Voluntary and Community Organisations
- Youth Workers
(for contact details for these agencies in your area please visit The Worcestershire Virtual Family Hub | Worcestershire County Council)
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
Worcestershire Children First, under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, have a responsibility to promote inter-agency co-operation to improve the welfare of all children. As an Early Help organisation you should have in place effective ways to identify emerging problems and potential unmet needs of individual children and families.
Worcestershire Children First works 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, complete whole family assessments, (and submit these to Worcestershire Children First) and think whole family in their approach to supporting these families.