Early Help is the response made when a professional identifies needs with a child/family and works with another agency or agencies to meet those needs.
At this level of need an Early Help Assessment (EHA) is completed with the child and family to identify needs and agreed desired outcomes. A good assessment of needs and the establishment of achievable and measurable outcomes is an essential element of effective early help. Any worker from a service that supports families can initiate this process.
An EHA can be carried out with any child or young person from pre-birth up to age 19 (up to the age of 25 if the young person has a learning difficulty or disability).
The completion of an EHA would trigger a response from different agencies. A date is set for a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting, in order to identify a co-ordinator, agree the plan and which agency would work to achieve each of the agreed outcomes.
When a professional or group of professionals is concerned about how to deliver the plan or are unable to identify an appropriate co-ordinator, the case should be taken to the Area Early Help and Family Support Panel.
There are Early Help Officers in each district and based in the Safeguarding Hub who can give advice, guidance and support with Early help Assessments . There details can be found at http://www.cumbrialscb.com/LSCB/professionals/earlyhelp/earlyhelptteamleaflet.asp