Early help refers both to help in the critical early years of a child’s life and also to help throughout a child, young person and family’s life too. Early help intervention should happen as soon as possible when difficulties emerge in order to prevent problems from worsening or becoming entrenched. Warrington’s early help offer is underpinned by colleagues in Universal services identifying the need for support at an early stage for those families who may need it.
Effective and outcome focused early help services may occur at any point in a family’s life from pre-birth to young adulthood. Early Help has a key role to play in supporting vulnerable adults.
Our ambition in Warrington is to provide access to coordinated early help in accordance with need as soon as difficulties are identified - particularly for those with multiple and complex needs. This support will be based on a robust assessment (using the early help assessment, combined assessment or specialist agency assessment) of needs, will be personalised, evidence based, multi- agency, strengths based and embedded within our whole family approach.
The key principles behind this approach are:
- Children and young people and their families/carers will be supported to live safe, happy, healthy and fulfilling lives to promote their development into responsible adult citizens
- Effective and timely early help services can break the inter-generational cycle of risk and vulnerability
- Effective early help services, underpinned by robust Universal Services will support families to become more resilient and develop the capability to prevent and resolve problems themselves - this is our vision for community capacity building and developing an asset based approach
- Effective and timely early help services can help to reduce demand for higher cost specialist services and achieve much greater use of community based universal preventative services through, for example, our children’s centres offer, the 0-19 integrated Public Health offer, our schools and neighbourhood services.
There is a statutory need to contact children’s social care when needs escalate to a level of significant harm and the practitioner identifying those concerns should make contact with MASH to seek specialist advice on how to manage further support.
Early help assessments
Early Help Assessments (EHA) are how professionals identify and assess the family's needs. The assessment is completed with the family and a range of different organisations, such as schools and health services. This is so the support given meets the needs of the whole family. An EHA means everyone can make sure the support is working and making a difference to the family. It also helps to improve local services for everyone.
Read more about Early Help and to access the Early Help paperwork
Any professional working with a family, such as those based in schools, health services, or in voluntary sector organisations, can offer early help services by responding to identified needs in order to offer advice, support and intervention. Early Help works best when it is offered to the whole family and when services are delivered jointly by professionals. Early Help is everyone’s business.
You can find out more in the Early Help e-booklet which contains information including what the service provides, children centres, education, childcare and support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Early Help brochure