Information for professionals on the Early Help Assessment (EHA)
The Early Help Assessment (EHA) provides a method for assessing needs for children and young people to support earlier intervention and to improve joint working and communication between practitioners.
The aim in Herefordshire is to identify, at the earliest opportunity, a family or young person's needs which are not being met and provide a timely and coordinated package of support. Early Help Assessment can be used by all professionals working with children, young people and families and is a consent-based process so that it is underpinned by a partnership approach between families and practitioners, with emphasis on family-based decision-making.
The Early Help Assessment assesses the strengths and needs of the child and their family, and families play a big part when developing an action plan for meeting any identified additional needs. Actions and support are then delivered via Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings or regular locality Family Network meetings.
The Early Help Assessment form
The form consists of three sections:
Completing the Early Help Assessment form
- All forms must be completed electronically, however, the consent part will need to be ticked and signed by hand. Unsigned Early Help Assessment forms will not be accepted
- There is comprehensive guidance to support professionals with the Early Help Assessment process and practical guidance for completing the form
The role of the Key Person (KP)
The key person is normally the person completing the Early Help Assessment, however, another person can be nominated to be key person.
The key person will support the family to access services and help co-ordinate a multi-agency approach to the TAF meetings. Further details about the key person's role.
Early Help Assessment support plan
The Early Help Assessment support plan now replaces the delivery and review plan. This should be used to monitor progress against the outcomes at regular Team around the Family (TAF) or Family Network meetings.
Early Help Assessment closure form
The Early Help Assessment closure form ensures that outcomes for children and families are monitored more effectively when an Early Help Assessment closes. This form allows the key person and the family to detail why the Early Help Assessment came to an end, what needs (if any) remain unmet and what impact Early Help had overall. These outcomes are measured against the Families First criteria. View the Family First Criteria and Outcomes for Early Help Assessment for help with completing these outcomes.
Family Network meetings (FNM)
Family Network meetings play a crucial role in the integration of services to provide early intervention and prevent needs escalating. The FNM will have ownership and commitment from key professionals working in each locality. Representatives from the core agencies and organisations whose focus is to support children and families will attend this meeting.
Family Network meetings are being held every six weeks in the following areas:
- Kington and Weobley
- Hereford City North
- Hereford City South
- Kingstone and Golden Valley
Please be aware that as some meetings may be subject to change, it is advisable to double-check times and venues before attending.
Step-down from social care to Early Help Assessment
When a social worker decides that intervention from social care is no longer required and that the needs of a family can be supported through the Early Help process, the procedure is clearly explained in the Step Down to Early Help guidance.
An Early Help Assessment consent and step-down plan should be used and consent must be obtained before a case can step-down to Early Help.
Herefordshire directory of early help services
Early Help Assessment training
Regular training on the Early Help Assessment in Herefordshire is available through Herefordshire CPD-on-line.