Early Help Support for families
The Early Help Service works in partnership with other professionals, parents and carers to intervene early when families need more support. The aim is to address problems at the earliest opportunity - before they can escalate - and to enable families to support their children to reach their full potential.
Early intervention may occur at any point. The Early Help approach is underpinned by an Early Help assessment and a team around the family meeting. Early Help supports families with children and young people aged 0 to 19 and up to 25 with a disability.
The Early Help Assessment is called Our Family Journey (OFJ) and is a way of working with children, young people and their families. It involves listening to your family to find out what your needs are and what is working well in your family’s life.
An action plan is agreed with you and your family and put into place to make sure you get the right sort of help.
Our Family Journey is voluntary, so you and your family have a choice to be involved or not and you should be asked if you would like Our Family Journey to be carried out.
Our Family Journey exists to help support your family
It can lead to a quick solution or help to identify extra support if needed.
Our Family Journey will ensure that everyone involved with your family, such as teachers and health visitors, works together to support your family better. As Our Family Journey is a shared assessment, you and your family will not have to repeat the same story to different workers.
Our Family Journey can be used if you or someone who works with your family would like you to receive extra support. It will help to identify your family’s additional needs and who is best placed to provide that support to your family.
If you and your family agree, a worker will ask you some questions to find out what help and support you might need. This information is recorded on a simple form. Older children may feel able to discuss their situation on their own with the worker. A young person's wish to keep information confidential from parents may be respected by the worker where this is in the young person's best interests and welfare.
Based on the information you provide, the worker can begin to complete an action plan with you and all those who can help. This may take place straight away, or the worker may need to make some enquiries and contact you again. If there are needs which may be met by a number of services, a Team Around the Family (TAF) will be formed. Normally only those who need to know about your family will share the information.
A TAF is a group of people who provide support to your family and who will work together to ensure all their needs are met in a coordinated manner.
If a number of people are providing support to your family, one of these people may be appointed as a lead professional.
This person will keep you informed, listen to your views and support you. The named worker will also coordinate all the services supporting your family.
You and your family will have a say in who should be the lead professional.
As a rule, the information that you and your family provide will only be shared with your consent. However, there may be occasions where the people working with you need to share information such as
• When a child is at risk of harm
• When adult is at risk of harm
• To help prevent or detect a serious crime