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Early help

In Derbyshire we all believe that every child and young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and that they are best supported to grow and achieve within their own families and their communities.

child and adult playing with bubbles

There will always be some children, young people and families that will need our support and we are committed to ensuring we work with them to identify their own solutions, building their own strengths and assets.

In doing so we'll ensure that, where services are delivered, they will be flexible to meet children's and families' needs.

Our approach supports a shift of focus away from managing short-term crises and towards effective support for children and young people and their families at an earlier stage, with them at the centre of enabling environments rather than them being dependent on organised public services.

Wherever possible the needs of children, young people and families will be met by universal services. However, as soon as any practitioner is aware that they may have additional needs they will talk with them to offer advice and support in order to meet that need.

In Derbyshire we have a shared partnership vision that, if early help is needed, we will ensure we:

  • work to families' strengths - especially those of parents and carers and take the time to understand their needs fully
  • focus on preventing problems before they occur and offer flexible responsive support when and where it is required
  • build the resilience of parents, children's, young people and communities to support each other
  • work together across the whole system aligning our resources so we can best support families do what needs to be done when it needs to be done
  • base all that we do on evidence of both what is needed and of what works and be brave enough to stop things that are wrong
  • be clear and consistent about the outcome we expect, and judge what we do against them

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.

If you're worried about your child's health or development you can speak to your health visitor, doctor, school nurse or someone at your child's school or early years setting.

Targeted early help with children's services

Our early help teams work in partnership with schools, health and other universal support teams who can offer information, advice and practical support before the involvement of children's services.

Our targeted early help offers:

  • 0 to 5 and children's centres teams, working closely with health visitors and early years providers, support with speech and language development, healthy eating, parenting and school readiness
  • targeted early help teams for family and youth support providing parenting groups, youth groups and individual family focussed support, including; parenting routines and family relationships, reducing conflict, healthy lifestyle choices and reducing risks of exploitation

They also support in circumstances where children and young people are:

  • not in education, training or employment after the age of 16
  • at risk of exploitation into criminal activity, drug or substance misuse, vulnerable to be groomed into sexual exploitation (including online grooming)
  • carers for other family members 

Our targeted early help offer is available to vulnerable children and families and it is accessed through Starting Point via the completion of an online early help request form.

Requests will be triaged, and the locality early help teams will work with local partners to provide the most appropriate level of support.

Your health visitor, health professional, early years provider, school or college will be able to support you initially with early help and can refer to children's services if you think more targeted support would be helpful.

If the child already has an allocated early help team worker or social worker, please liaise directly with the allocated worker.

If your request is about an immediate child protection issue or your concern is urgent, please tel: 01629 533190.