What is early help?
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.
Who should offer early help?
As with safeguarding children and young people, early help is everyone’s responsibility. The first person to offer support to a child or young person and their family should be the practitioner identifying the issue.
But for early help to be effective, all local organisations should work together to identify those children and families who would benefit from this service and undertake assessments of their needs (Working Together to Safeguard Children – link to government guidance).
This is know as the Children’s Action Team and can include family workers, targeted youth support workers, specialist youth support workers and education welfare officers. See this page here for more information on the teams involved: Support we offer
Assessing needs – Reading’s threshold criteria
Berkshire West’s Safeguarding Children Partnership (BWSCP) has developed guidance setting out the local criteria for action, in an easily understandable and accessible booklet. This is to make sure that children’s needs are responded to at an appropriate level and in a timely way.
For full information, advice and guidance please see the BWSCP website here.