Overview of Prevention and Early Help

This is the support provided for children, young people and their families to respond when difficulties begin to emerge or to stop problems developing in the future. This support can be provided at any point in a child’s life to stop small problems getting bigger. Prevention and Early Help is not a specific service but a collaborative approach across all agencies that work with children, young people and families, who will work together to improve the outcomes for children, young people and families.

Bradford's Prevention and Early Help offer involves a wide range of partners all playing key roles in providing access to information, support and the tools needed to help build the resilience of children, young people and families. The aim is to identify and build on a family’s strengths and work towards them being able to resolve their own difficulties, develop skills and better manage future challenges.

What does effective Early Help feel like for children and families?

  • We only have to tell our story once.
  • We are listened to, heard and respected at every stage of our journey through early help.
  • We can have early help for the whole family.
  • We can focus on strengths and building resilience.
  • We have a trusted individual in our lives that we can confidently turn to for help when we need it.
  • We are supported to think about what to change and how we might make those changes.

What does effective Early Help feel like for practitioners?

  • A graduated approach to identify what help the child and family need to prevent needs escalating. 
  • A whole-family approach that addresses the children’s needs in the wider family context. 
  • An assessment plan for a child and family who would benefit from coordinated support from more than one agency. 
  • A multi-disciplinary approach, bringing a range of professional skills and expertise in a Team Around the Family. 
  • Practice which empowers families and helps them to develop the capacity to resolve their own problems. 
  • A relationship with a trusted lead practitioner who coordinates the support needed from other agencies.

Under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, Local Authorities have a responsibility to promote inter-agency co-operation to improve the welfare of all children. Local organisations and agencies should have in place effective ways to identify emerging problems and potential unmet needs of children and families.

Multi-agency Community Safety Partnerships (CSP’s) in each District will bring together agencies working with vulnerable families to provide a focus on safeguarding and early help. These partnerships will be supported by the local Families First teams and have the following core aims:

  • To support and develop effective joint working between local agencies in order that children and young people are safeguarded and that help is provided at the earliest opportunity.
  • To develop a shared understanding of local needs, priorities, and the effectiveness of services in improving outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families and take action as a locality to address these.
  • To identify local opportunities to collaborate, share resources and improve coordination of support so that children, young people and families receive help at the right time and to prevent escalation and requirement for higher level services.
  • Early Help is best provided by someone who has an existing trusted relationship with a child, young person and/or family.
  • Seeing the child, young person or family first, not the difficulty.
  • Early Help should support children, young people and families to address needs at the lowest possible level and prevent them from escalating.
  • Children and family feeling listened to and enabled to be part of the solution.
  • A joined-up approach that helps the whole family now and into the future.
  • A reduction in the multiple times families are asked for the same information.

Our approach is about providing the right level of support at the right time.  If more or different support is needed, it builds on the support already in place and from the understanding of what has worked/not worked in the past.

This includes:

  • Helping people to help themselves - providing accessible information, advice and support.
  • Understanding the person and being able to apply a person-centred approach.
  • Identifying additional needs early.
  • Using holistic assessment to understand needs and strengths of the whole family that might not be known already.
  • Being committed to work in partnership with all agencies.
  • Listening to parents and carers and involving them as fully as possible.
  • Setting SMART outcomes.
  • Agreeing a plan of action and review date.
  • Involving other practitioners and agencies as needed; Sharing information with consent.
  • Being clear about everyone’s role; Identifying the Lead Practitioner.
  • Reviewing progress - Are outcomes being met?  If not, why not? What needs to change? Do we have all the information we need?
Early help infographic
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