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Early Help information for professionals

Early Help - supporting families in their communities

Early help means getting in early with families to identify and address problems before they escalate. It is a responsibility shared by all the agencies who work with families. The shared responsibility means a wide range of different approaches are undertaken across a workforce that extends far beyond the local authority’s Early Help services.

Read the statutory guidance - Working Together to Safeguard Children on GOV.UK.

Keeping Children Safe in Education: early help in schools

Across the partnership, early years services, schools and education settings have consistent and meaningful contact with families through the life course of children and young people.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children, sets out the legal duties you must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges.
It recognises that there are high quality services delivered in universal settings and that “where need is at a relatively low level, individual services and universal services may be able to take swift action.” It further sets out the responsibilities that all professionals have in these services in relation to Early Help to identify emerging problems, and to share information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment.

Read the statutory guidance – Keeping Children Safe in Education on GOV.UK

Recording early help and safeguarding activity in Waltham Forest schools

The Common Assessment Framework has been replaced in Waltham Forest by Our Family Journey tool, following the Munro Review’s  recommendation to adapt methods according to local needs and priorities.

For more information read the Munro review of child protection: final report - a child-centred system on GOV.UK

The Early Help division adapted the Common Assessment Framework to create the Our Family Journey Tool. This tool is used to identify the early help offer that a family requires to prevent needs from escalating to a point where intervention would be necessary via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989. The Our Family Journey Tool is designed to be used by all partners to guide integrated working to provide early help, for example through the Team Around the Family (TAF) approach.

Download Our Family Journey Tool (Word 192KB)

Early Help training

The early help service offers a variety of training to professionals including:

  • free multi-agency training
  • bespoke training and briefings tailored to settings and agencies
  • boost training support including area based practitioner network meetings

For further details on Early Help training please go on to the Hub and or contact your Early Help co-ordinator at EarlyHelp@walthamforest.gov.uk

Information sharing

Information sharing can, at times, be tricky. How do professionals balance someone's right to confidentiality against their additional needs? How can professionals ensure that they share the right information the right way?

All professionals who work with children and young people, parents and carers should know how and when to share information. This includes sharing data about adults if it is about safeguarding a child.

Read information sharing guidance for professionals.

The lead professional role

Some children and young people will need help from more than one agency. Where this is the case, the team will appoint a lead professional to coordinate the services provided.

The lead professional:

  • is the first point of contact for the child, family and other professionals
  • coordinates the delivery of services provided, for example, by combining different appointments to minimise disruption to families’ lives
  • reduces any inconsistency and overlap between services

Lead TAF professionals should use our TAF meeting guidance (261.3 KB pdf).

EHA training

The early help service offers a variety of training to professionals including:

  • free multi-agency training
  • bespoke training and briefings tailored to settings and agencies
  • boost training support including area based practitioner network meetings

For further details on Early Help training please go on to the Hub and or contact your Early Help co-ordinator at EarlyHelp@walthamforest.gov.uk

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