We work with parents, children, young people and alongside our partners in the wider early help community

Early help, also known as early intervention, is providing the right support to families, at the right time, to achieve change that lasts. It can be provided at any stage in a child or young person’s life, from pre-birth through to the teenage years.

Early help services can be delivered to parents, children or whole families, but the main focus is to improve outcomes for children and help prevent any situation from escalating, or further problems arising.

Information on early help for professionals

There are two different access and contact routes, dependent on the needs of the child or family.

If you have identified a family or young person with additional needs (threshold 2A in the Reading Threshold Guide), you can access advice and guidance, services and support with a lead professional through the One Reading Partnership Hub.

Please email onereading@brighterfuturesforchildren.org.

If you believe a child, young person or family’s has multiple needs (threshold 2B) please make a referral for a targeted early help service through the Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPoA). Phone 0118 937 3641 or complete the form here.

CSPoA allows us to make quick, effective decisions when you contact us.

Early help sits at threshold two, in the Reading Threshold Guidance Document. As above, this is broken down into threshold 2A “Additional Needs” and threshold 2B “Multiple Needs”

Threshold 2A “Additional Needs”

These children require additional targeted support from a single agency to address the concern that has been identified.

Threshold 2B “Multiple Needs”

This is the level at which there is a need for a clear coordinated multi-agency response and assessment may be appropriate.

See Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership for more information

You can view and download the Reading Local Protocol for Assessments HERE.

The partnership team works with Brighter Futures for Children and external partners including police, health and education to promote and embed early help arrangements that form the basis to deliver our ambitious shared outcomes for the children, young people and families of Reading.

We have a dedicated page to support all Reading colleagues as part of the One Reading Partnership HERE.

For details about support we offer for parents, visit our Parenting Groups page.

We have a section dedicated to support professionals working with families to reduce parental conflict HERE.

This is our internal reconfiguration to create a new multi-disciplinary service to work with young people where there is a risk of extra familial harm. The team includes a systemic practitioner, a serious youth violence worker, SOURCE drug and alcohol/specialist youth workers, key workers and the new adolescent social worker from CSC. The service will provide bespoke packages of support for young people and their families and work with young people and the systems around them – family, school, neighbourhoods and communities.

Who are Reconnect?

  • We are a multi-disciplinary team who specialise in working with young people and their networks (family, peers, schools, community). This includes SOURCE young people’s drug and alcohol service
  • We work with young people where there is risk/harm coming from the community, for example exploitation, substance misuse, missing episodes, crime and youth violence
  • We think many of the difficulties our young people face are the very best adaptions to situations in which they find themselves and we work with the young person, their networks and wider context to help change those situations
  • We believe for change to be successful and sustained, the networks around the young person also must adapt and do things differently, including family, school, and community

Who do we work with? 

  • Young people aged 10 and above and their networks (family, peer, school, community) who are experiencing difficulties in all or most of these area
  • These difficulties will usually show in the form of school and community difficulties such as being disengaged from education, going missing, misuse of drugs/alcohol, association with other young people/adults of concern, acts of verbal and physical aggression and crime  
  • It is likely that these young people might also be experiencing difficulties in their family relationships which may include high levels of conflict, defiance, or too few safe limits  
  • These young people are likely to be seeking independence and autonomy in unsafe and inappropriate ways. Some might be described as ‘outside parental control’ or influence 

Why is a young person offered support from Reconnect? 

  • The child exploitation indicator and analysis tool will identify several interacting vulnerabilities and/or risk factors.  
  • This will be completed on each young person based on the available information. This should be completed by the professional requesting a service for the young person.   
  • There are concerns in relation to the young person’s substance use and the associated risks of their use e.g. decline in mental/ physical health., engagement in education etc. 
  • Target Youth Work and ‘keep safe’ preventative intervention will usually have been offered though difficulties are still present.  
  • There will usually have been several interventions offered, with the situation remaining the same or with no sustained changes.  
  • Intervening across all the young person networks is thought to be required i.e. family, peer, school, community spaces and places etc. 
  • Reconnect will provide three levels of intervention, at the level of Early Help (where there will be a designated lead professional), or alongside a Child in Need plan or a Child Protection Plan  

How do we work? 

  • We think trauma-informed, respond restoratively, therapeutically and whole family  
  • This means that we take time to understand the young person and their networks, their experience and their context. We pay attention to the strengths and challenges that they face 
  • In partnership with the young person we talk about the difficulties and what’s keeping them there. This informs how we work together to build on those strengths and reduce the challenges 
  • This could include one to one work with a specialist youth worker, family support, and talking together with the wider network about how everyone can work together to create change 
  • We offer a flexible service and our interventions including specialist substance misuse support, and harm reduction, psycho-education tailored to emotional wellbeing and mental health, as well as Non-Violent Resistance and family work 
  • We operate a ‘team around the worker’ model which means that a young person has a single point of contact whilst also benefiting from the input of the wider team 

Hoped for outcomes 

  • Increase safety for young person, their networks  and the spaces and places they spend time  
  • Reduce missing episodes and the amount of time spent unaccounted for
  • Reduce contacts with police, anti-social behaviour teams, and youth offending services 
  • Reduction in problematic alcohol and substance misuse (where this is an issue)  
  • Improved relationships reported by young person and their networks  
  • Improved emotional and mental health  
  • Reconnection with education, employment or further training  

Requesting support from Reconnect 

  • Requests for support will usually be made by a professional working with the young person  
  • This might be a teacher or other professional via Children’s Single Point of Access (CSPoA)  
  • A social worker might recommend Reconnect at the end of a child and family assessment through the ‘step down’ process, or they might request Reconnect support as part of a child in need or child protection plan through the ‘joint work’ process 
  • Requests for support might also be made through the youth offending team, for those young people where prevention support is required 
  • Young people and their families might also self-refer through single point of access  
  • All requests for support will be discussed at a weekly meeting where we discuss the young person, who is in their network, and whether Reconnect or other early help is the right service at the right time. We might also suggest another service 
  • Informed consent should be sought prior to a request for service being made  
  • A decision will be made, recorded and shared on the same day of the meeting

Provide one to one support to young people aged 13–18 years old who are at risk of not achieving their full potential due to a range of issues and risk factors which may include lack of engagement in education, employment or training, poor emotional health, involvement in crime or anti-social behaviour, at risk of exploitation etc.

Targeted Youth Support Workers also offer some youth groups to targeted groups of young people. These include:

  • Young carers
  • Young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning their sexuality
  • Young parents

Visit our Young People’s Zone for more  information on these groups and activities.

Groups that can support young people

Young Carers

A weekly term time group session for those aged between 6–9 years, 5–11 years and 13–18 years (3 x separate groups) that have been assessed using the Young Carers screening tool as in need of some youth club activities.

The sessions offer respite to those in a caring role and the chance to socialise with others that share similar experiences. The sessions cover a variety of topics relevant to young carers such as (but not limited to) staying safe, advice on drugs and alcohol and food preparation.

Young Mums Drop In

A weekly drop-in session for young parents (up to the age of 19 years) and their children at a central town location. Support and advice are available on a variety of topics relevant to becoming a mum/parent for the first time. Signposting and practical help take place such as setting up health appointments and accessing services that young mums/parents have traditionally found difficult.

Young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning their sexuality (LGBTQ) – ReachOUT

A weekly youth club session in a central town location for young people aged 13–19 years (or up to 25 years if they have a learning difficulty or disability) who are LGBTQ. It provides a safe space for young people to meet with others in a similar situation. Advice and support can be accessed and sessions are run to cover a wide range of relevant topics. More information can be found in our young people’s zone.

G Family

“If it wasn’t for you listening to us and seeing for yourself, we would never have got the help at last. It was you who asked for xx to come and see us and we as a family are so grateful to you and xx for listening to us and helping us.”

Mother of two children

“I called the CAT team when I was at the end of my tether with my children’s behaviour. It was a last ditch attempt and I didn’t hold out much hope of my children engaging in the process as they are extremely resistant to help, believing, as they do, that no help was needed. A initially won her over with his calm, friendly approach and she found that she really liked him, as did my son. When I heard that A was moving on, I was very disappointed and thought that the process would fall apart for sure, but B came along and managed to inspire and help my children.

For me, I found they were both helpful and really listened before offering advice. They both understood the trials and tribulations, didn’t judge me and just got on with giving sage advice.”

Mother of C

“C has learnt how to keep herself safe on and offline, she has learned how to feel confident about herself, and has built her self-esteem up to say no if she feels it’s not right, also to ask for help when she needs it, C has changed in a good way working with Y she has become helpful and very respectful, and we are all very thankful for her hard work and felt if C hadn’t had her sessions with Y she would have got into situations she wouldn’t know how to get out off, Y has helped me by kicking me up the backside and giving me advice on how to move forward as a family for example with housing, Y has made a massive impact on all our lives and changed it for the better, there isn’t any words that could thank enough.”

Head of Year, Secondary School

“Since working with N, I have found her one of the best Support Workers I have worked with. She is quick to pick -up on issues and can see further than what is sometimes presented. She is both intuitive and perceptive. She is always polite, positive and friendly when dealing with families but will not shy away from saying what she must, however difficult, even if it not necessarily well received. I have found her organised and thorough, always doing what she says she will do. She listens to other Professionals and talks over plans to move things forward.

N is both realistic and practical, which alongside her natural positivity makes it easy for families and professionals to work with her.”

You can also contact the Youth Support Service on 0118 937 6545 for further information.

Visit our page dedicated to support all Reading colleagues with their work as part of ONE Reading Partnership.

ONE Reading Children and Young People's Partnership

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Support we offer

We work closely with schools and other services to provide holistic family-centred support in order to prevent issues developing and/or escalating and to make sure children and young people achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

A key worker will be allocated to the family and they will work with the family and other agencies, if appropriate, to assess the needs and develop a plan with clear goals, timescales and outcomes which will be reviewed regularly with the family and other services supporting the family.

The key worker will also ensure that the views of the children and young people are heard and included in the plan. Early help also run a number of parenting group programmes to help parents develop their skills as a parent. These are held in venues across Reading.

Within the Children Action Team, there are many people that can help.

How to access Early Help support offered by Brighter Futures for Children

Supporting all families in Reading that receive a diagnosis of autism for their child/young person.

  • Home visits
  • Living with autism course
  • Training
  • Coffee mornings
  • Advice to families and professionals

If you would like to speak to the Autism Advisor please contact contact Jackie Perrin on 07542 666 987 or email jackie.perrin@brighterfuturesforchildren.org.

The EPS provides support to nurseries, school and colleges to meet the needs of children and young people (0–25 years old) with additional special educational needs and/or emotional or mental health needs.

The EPS provides advice to the local authority when Education, Health and Care Needs assessments are being undertaken for a child or young person.

For more information about our EPS, please visit our EPS pages.

Educational Psychology Service

Education Welfare Officers work closely with schools to address school attendance issues. They support children and young people and their families to maintain and improve attendance in school and work with other colleagues to address any issues impacting on education, signposting to other relevant support.

The Education Welfare Service also manages the licensing of children in employment and entertainment and issues chaperone licences.

Family workers provide one-to-one support to families. This is often in the home or can be in a safe community setting and will include supported visits to appointments or groups. They will support families to access the right services to meet their needs – this could be improving the home environment, their children’s school attendance or their parenting skills. They will also work directly with the children.

The Portage Service is a Home Teaching Programme for Reading families who have a pre-school child (0–4 years old) who has been recognised as needing additional support with their development due to a significant developmental delay. Families receiving Portage are visited in their own home by a trained Portage Home Visitor who offers developmental support, encouragement and advice. In partnership with parents we design, carry out and record stimulating activities to encourage children to meet their individual learning goals. We also offer support with their transition into a nursery or school.

Professionals can refer (with parental consent) through the Children’s Single Point of Access.

For more details about Portage Home Visitors, see our Portage service leaflet.

You can also find more details about Portage via the Family Information Service

The PMHW Service is a stepped-care service, based on the THRIVE Model, for children and young people aged 5–18 years old who need support with concerns around their emotional health. This can include but is not limited to: self-harm, low mood, anxiety and non-complex trauma. PMHWs also work within schools in Reading to provide consultation, mentoring and coaching to school staff concerning the emotional health of children and young people.

The service aims to provide a relaxing experience for children and young people in settings across Reading, support for parents and advice to professionals. Sessions are tailored to each child’s individual needs and all therapy sessions are delivered on a one-to-one basis.

The service offers training to staff and parents in school on use of massage techniques and supporting sensory needs in school and at home. This service is purchased directly by schools, and referrals are usually made by their special educational needs/inclusion co-ordinators.

The children and young people referred to the service typically have diagnoses of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and/or Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties. They may also experience physical disabilities, developmental delay, difficulties coping with bereavement, anxiety or behaviour and/or other special educational needs.

Sessions usually start with an exercise which may help the child with their spatial awareness, fine motor skills, sequence and crossing the midline and they may help to improve hand-eye co-ordination and bilateral skills. The therapist may also assist the pupil in completing recommendations from other professional reports i.e. occupational therapy. The therapist and pupil may spend time talking about concerns or worries the pupil may be experiencing and the therapist may be able to offer support and advice.

Hand massage follows, which is a calming technique and reduces stress and anxiety. Hand massage can also support handwriting skills. Finally, there is an opportunity for a back and head massage. Parental and child consent is required, and it is carried out through clothing, using hands and massage tools.

As well as delivering massage therapy, the therapist will complete an independent sensory assessment and offer support and advise to school staff, parents/carers and other professionals around pupil’s sensory differences.

For more information please visit the Reading Education Services website or contact Sophie Webster on 07814622986 or Sophie.Webster@brighterfuturesforchildren.org.

Other early help and prevention services we offer

Early years services

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Virtual school

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Youth services

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Youth Offending Service

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