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Early Help assessment

Information and resources for practitioners on the early help (single assessment).

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) government guidance states that everybody who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe.

No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child's needs and circumstances and if children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

As a partnership we agree to help families and work with them to help prevent their children's needs escalating. All agencies will actively seek to work with the child and family at the most appropriate level of need.

Early help assessment

Where needs are emerging or low level, individual services and universal services may be able to meet these needs, take swift action and prevent those needs escalating. Agencies who identify the emerging needs of a child and their family should complete the Early Help Assessment (EHA). 

The assessment is:

  • used across all services working with children, young people and families, for engaging families in identifying and prioritising needs and agreeing an action plan to meet family objectives - it also helps to monitor the effectiveness of any early intervention
  • a holistic assessment completed with the family that summarises a family's strengths, needs and goals
  • designed to be shared between services and used as a starting point for planning co-ordinated multi-agency action
  • a consent-based process - we need the agreement of a parent or carer or of a competent young person or older child before completing it with them

Where the support for a child, young person and their family requires the involvement of more than one agency, a Team Around the Family (TAF) should be convened. The TAF should include the appropriate agencies who may contribute to a TAG plan, for example:

  • school pastoral teams
  • school health
  • behaviour support service
  • educational psychologist
  • police safer neighbourhood team

The TAF should meet regularly to review the progress made and the outcomes achieved.

Where there are issues identified that warrant targeted support from an early help team, the EHA or TAF minutes should be sent to Starting Point to demonstrate the reasons for the referral.  It should include any actions already undertaken and why these needs cannot be met by universal services.

All the work that we do with children, young people and families, follows Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership procedures.

Visit the early help and thresholds for children's social care section of the Derbyshire Children's Services online procedures documents library for current forms, guidance, information about thresholds and other useful links.