Early help and support for families
All families need some extra support at times.
Early help aims to provide the support you and your children need, when you need it, to help you manage difficult times and get back on track.
If you are experiencing difficulties in your family or are worried about your children, there are people that can offer help and support. Difficulties could be:
- You are worried about your child's health, development or behaviour
- Family relationships
- Your child is struggling in school
- Issues with parenting
- Debt problems
- Housing problems
Finding the support you need
If you are experiencing family problems, the first thing you should do is try and discuss your concerns with someone:
- Your child's school or college
- Your child's pre-school, nursery or childminder
- Children's Centre staff ( if your child is age 0-5)
- Your family GP, your health visitor or midwife
- You could also search for support on WISH. Look at the WISH directory or visit the children and families section for information on a wider range of areas.
When the usual support networks are not enough - we can help
If you need more help and advice than these usual support networks can provide, our family support process can help.
Staff in our early help team can help you access support, and may suggest that the family support process would help you. Please ring 01432 260261 or
How the family support process can help
The family support process provides a framework to bring together the people who could help with supporting you and your family. If we recommend this approach to help you through the difficulties you are facing, the early help team will set up a meeting with you. They will explain the process and the meetings you will be involved in.
When you first speak to a professional, they will:
- Talk to you about the family support process and how we can help you
- Complete an early help family assessment with you
- Talk about information sharing and consent
A number of different professionals and organisations could be involved in the support process, for example, your child's school, your GP or housing officer. Who supports you depends on the issues you are facing.
Early help assessment
If you are facing difficulties which involve a child or children we'll complete an early help assessment. This can be completed by any professional who is working with your child. They can be from any service, such as your child's school.
The assessment will:
- Consider everyone in the family. The professional will get everyone's views, including children and young people
- Help understand what is working well at the moment and what is not working well
- Be a chance to gather all the information about your current situation. This is helpful as it means that you do not have to repeat yourself to different organisations.
Everyone can work to one plan.
'Team around the family' meetings and plans
A plan and goals will be agreed and set up based on what is discussed in the early help assessment. The professionals who are working on your plan will meet with you and your family regularly to help you achieve your goals. We call these 'Team around the family' meetings.
Once all the goals on the plan have been achieved, your family support plan will end. If new needs arrive in the future, your network of professionals can start the process again.