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What is Early Help?

Early Help is about taking steps to stop little problems becoming big problems for children, young people and their families. This can be provided by services acting with families to help them find the best solution for themselves. 

Early Help can either lead to quick solutions or longer term plans if extra support is needed. It will involve listening to you and your children to find out what your needs are, what is working well in your life and what extra support you might need. 

Everybody has a responsibility for Early Help. Families need to be ready to help themselves and all agencies working with families need to be ready to work together to provide the right support at the right time to make changes for the better.  If you are a professional with concerns for a child's safety, further information can be found on the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board (KSCB)

In Knowsley we talk about Early Help being offered at different ‘Level’s’ and by this we mean: 

Level 1: Universal 

This is support families can access themselves to have their needs met through universal services such as; youth clubs, schools, health visitors, Children’s Centres, GP’s, Job Centre and so on. 

Level 2: Universal Plus 

This is support for children, young people and families with other needs that require more targeted help.  This could be services just for children but may also involve parents and carers.  For example, a nursery supporting a child’s development while pointing a parent to debt advice; or a school supporting pupil with substance misuse through a counsellor while the parents attend a parenting course. 

In these circumstances an Early Help Assessment (EHA) might be completed with the family by one of the services involved (such as a Children’s Centre or a school) and a plan put together which is regularly updated. 

Level 3: Universal Partnership Plus - Multiple/Complex 

This is support for children, young people and families with multiple, complex needs which will mean a Lead Professional will work with the family to put together an Early help Assessment and a Team Around the Family (TAF) plan, this brings together all the agencies involved for as long as necessary. In Knowsley this role might be undertaken by the Family First 0-18 Service. 

This might be children who are not reaching developmental milestones or experiencing recurring health problems and whose parents struggle to cope due to their own mental health. Alternatively this might be families facing eviction from their homes due to debt and anti-social behaviour while there may be some early signs that children’s needs are being neglected. 

Level 4Need for protection 

This applies to families where children may be, or are likely to be suffering significant harm as result of the behaviour of the child, their parents or that of other people. This includes children who have been neglected, involved in crime, abused or sexually exploited and these families may have a social worker to undertake Child Protection enquiries or oversee Child in Need Plans.

Useful Documents

Early Help Leaflet

Early Help Leaflet (Polish)

Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF)

Early Help Assessment Form

Early Help Glossary of Terms

Early Help Process

Framework for Assessment for Children in Need

Resources on the Knowsley Safeguarding Children Board

Early Help Practitioners User Guide