How to provide Early Help

In Staffordshire we have thought carefully about how best to harness all available resources to work alongside families when they need support.

There are three main areas that we want you to feel confident in:

  1. Identify
  2. Assess
  3. Address

Identify 

As part of Staffordshire’s Early Help Strategy we will identify families' emerging needs as early as possible, so that we can work with them before circumstances worsen and become more urgent.

This means that we all need a shared understanding of the issues that Staffordshire’s children and families face, with which they are likely to need early help.

Evidence tells us that in Staffordshire, you are more likely to need help if your family has any of the below risk factors.

Contributing factors to the need for Children's Services (2.02 MB)

Those who work in universal services (such as Teachers, the Police, Health Visitors, Childcare Practitioners and Volunteers) are generally best placed to identify children and families who might need early help.

We also use shared local and county-wide intelligence to identify those who are more likely to be in need of early help so that we do not miss families who are less visible or who are isolated from services or supportive communities.

Assess

Frontline practitioners across the public, private, voluntary and community sector are having the first conversations with families who they feel have an emerging unmet need to ensure they get the right help.

Staffordshire’s Early Help Assessment (EHA) is a simple tool to help with this.

It is designed to help anyone who already knows a child and their family to talk to them about their lives and any concerns that they may have. It acts as the basis for an analysis of what action to take together, with other services and community partners to reach a point where extra help is no longer needed.

Because every practitioner in Staffordshire uses the same tool, it means that once started, any other practitioners or agencies who become involved with a family simply add to the original: there is no need for the family to tell their story again.

All EHAs, with the consent of the family, should be forwarded to Families First so that this involvement can be recorded.

This is for two reasons: firstly, it means that if someone else has already registered a concern about the child or any of their family members, then that information can be shared. It also means that the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board can maintain an overview of the people who are supporting children and families across the county, and can organise its training and support accordingly.

You need to know where to find the Early Help Assesment and how to use it.

There is a free traning module for you to help you and how to videos will be available soon.

Address

Families are our partners in this work: they are the ones who will sustain the positive changes made to the lives of their children.

When services are no longer involved, it is families and the support they have around them in their communities that will ensure the outcomes for their children are the best that they can be.

The Staffordshire approach to providing early help is one that recognises and builds upon a family’s strengths and engages them as active participants in plans and activities to address their needs.

By building on family and community resources we aim to reduce the likelihood that extra help is required in the future.

There is free training available to help you feel confident in using this approach.