What is Early Help?
Early help is a way of getting extra support when you or your family needs it, but getting it as soon as the difficulties start, rather than waiting until things get worse. Help can come from all kinds of services and organisations who work together to support your family. You might be using some of these services already, but we want to make sure they are providing the right support for you and your family’s needs.
Why would I seek early help?
It could be that you’re worried about your child’s health, development or behaviour, or perhaps because you are caring for a disabled child. Maybe your child is affected by domestic abuse, drugs or alcohol. Maybe you have had a bereavement in the family or someone close to your child is ill, or there has been a disruption to your family life and you are worried about the effect on them.
It could be that you yourself are find times difficult and need advice with housing, debt, relationships or mental health issues.
Who do I ask?
Have a chat with your child’s class teacher, the staff in the office or any other member of school staff who you feel comfortable talking to. They can help you and will usually point you in the direction of our lovely Family Liaison Worker – Jayne Doherty. She has a wealth of local experience, she will support you and can also signpost you to services which will support you and your family with your specific needs.
What happens if I ask for an Early Help Assessment?
You will be fully involved, and we will listen to you. If it’s a bit more complicated, we’ll need to ask you for more information which we will write down or type. This is so we can get the right information and share it (with your consent) with people who need to know, so we can better understand your circumstances and match up services that would help you the most. You’ll create a plan together, showing what you want to achieve and the support that will help you.
What sort of services or help do I get?
It will depend on what you need and might include services you already get. We will agree it with you and make sure it all joins up. Here are a few examples:
Education and Early Learning
Family and young people support
Local support groups
Domestic violence support
Advice and welfare
Support filling out referral forms
Child, adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Can I say no to an Early Help Assessment?
Yes, you can, but we would like to stay in contact with you in case your circumstances alter, or you change your mind. We will continue to monitor your child in school and will speak to you again if we feel support is needed immediately.
Does it mean Social care will get involved?
No. If in the future your circumstances change and it becomes a possibility, we will keep you involved and work with you so that you understand what is happening and why.
What happens when I stop receiving early help services?
We want you to become confident and able to find your own solutions and take responsibility for your family. You can continue to use all services that are open to families and children and if your needs change again, then please ask us for further help, as soon as you need it.
Details of our Early Help offer are available here.