Early help for families
As a family or young person, there may be times when you need some extra support. If you can, talk to a professional you feel comfortably sharing this information with. They may suggest that all of the information is recorded on an Early Help Assessment form. With your consent, this form may be shared with other professionals and services that can offer additional support to you or your family. The Early Help Assessment form means you will not have to repeat the same story to different workers. We will agree an action plan with you to make sure you get the right sort of help.
If you think an Early Help Assessment would help you or your family, please contact us on the Early Help information line.
How the Early Help Assessment works
The Early Help Assessment is made up of part one and part two.
- Part one consists of your consent and basic information about the current needs of you or your family. This can be used to access services such as Family Support.
- Part two follows on from part one and is used if you or your family have more complex needs that require co-ordination from different agencies or professionals that may or may not already be supporting you and your family.
Once the form is written, you receive a copy and the Early Help Co-ordinator will register the details. The Early Help Assessment is only shared with those professionals and services that you require support from. The Early Help Assessment is owned by you and can be cancelled at your request at any time. A Key person may be appointed who will co-ordinate the services and review your support plan regularly with you.
How the Early Help Assessment is reviewed
The Key person will agree with you the way in which your Early Help Assessment plan will be reviewed, through a Team around the Family (TAF) meeting, a Family Network meeting or an informal meeting if you only have a single agency supporting you.
- TAF meetings are small meetings that you attend alongside the different agencies needed to support you and your family.
- Family Network meetings have representatives from different agencies attending including health, education, children's centres, voluntary and community sector and local housing. You don't need to attend these, your Key person will on your behalf.
The action plan will be updated with progress made and any other support you may have identified and are in agreement with.
The information which you and your family provide will only be shared with your family's consent. However, there may be times when the people working with you need to share information. They should always discuss this with you first, but may not if, for example:
- They need to find out urgently if a child is at risk of harm
- To help a child who is at risk of harm
- When an adult is at risk of harm or
- To help prevent or detect a serious crime
The early help documentation will be stored securely on a Herefordshire Council central database for a minimum of 6 years after completion of Early Help.