Young children with teacher

Early Help

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

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.

Autism Advisory Service

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 & professionals

If you would like to speak to the Autism Advisor please contact Jenna Redmond on 07912 362341 or email

Education Psychology Service (EPS)

The EPS provides support to nurseries, school and colleges to meet the needs of children and young people (0–25 years) with additional special educational needs and/or emotional or mental health needs. They work mainly in schools and settings and provide advice via consultations with school staff and parents; carry out assessments and observations of children and young people and undertake direct therapeutic interventions with individuals and groups. Educational psychologists also provide whole school support and training to settings on a range of learning and mental well-being issues.

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

Requests for EPS support are made by schools and settings, via their Special Educational Needs/Inclusion Co-ordinators.

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 issue 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.

Portage Home Visitors

The Portage Service is a Home Teaching Programme for Reading families who have a pre-school child (0–4 years) 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.

Primary Mental Health Workers (PMHW)

The PMHW Service is a stepped-care service, based on the THRIVE Model, for children and young people aged 5–18 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.

Massage Therapy and Sensory Integration Service

This is a unique and valued service providing one to one massage therapy sessions to children and young people, through Reading schools and settings, training staff and providing support to parents and carers.

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

The service can also offer training to staff in school and parents, on use of massage techniques and supporting sensory needs in school and at home. This service is purchased directly by schools, usually by their Special Educational Needs/Inclusion Co-ordinators.

For more information please visit our service page here or contact Sophie Webster on 07814622986 or

Specialist Youth Support Workers

Provide one to one support to young people aged 13–19 years (and up to 25 years for those young people with a special educational need or a disability) who are at risk of teenage pregnancy, exploitation, have drug and alcohol misuse issues or are young parents.

Targeted Youth Support Workers

Provide one to one support to young people aged 13–19 years (and up to 25 years for those young people with a special educational need or a disability) 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

Groups that can support you

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.

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

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