Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children, young people and their families than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. Early help is both early in terms of age and early in the cycle of need.
Effective early help relies upon families, communities and local agencies working together to:
- Identify children, young people and families who would benefit from early help;
- Undertake an assessment of the need for early help;
- Provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child, young person and their family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for them.
- Early help should happen as soon as possible when difficulties emerge in order to prevent problems from becoming entrenched or escalated.
- Early help is underpinned by universal services to identify the need for support at an early stage for those families who may need it.
- An effective early help offer is the responsibility of all partners.
- All families will have access to co-ordinated early help in accordance with need as soon as difficulties are identified. This support should be personalised, multi-agency, evidence based and embedded within a whole family approach. Children and young people in those families will be supported to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives, and to develop into responsible adult citizens.
- Early help can break the intergenerational cycle of risk and vulnerability that some families become entrenched in.
- Families will become more resilient and develop capabilities to prevent and resolve problems themselves.
- Local communities will become resilient through early help.
A multi-agency working group has developed a training package called ‘Early Help – A Quick Guide’. The quick guide is a free bitesize cascade training presentation together with session plan to raise awareness of Early Help support within Somerset. Both of the documents are designed to work alongside each other. The package can be found on the training section of the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) website: https://sscb.safeguardingsomerset.org.uk/training/.