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No. 39: Early Help

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What is Early Help?

Early Help is any additional support that a family may need, to prevent concerns escalating and to try and prevent a family hitting crisis point and needing statutory services to become involved. This Early Help can be provided by a number of different professionals/agencies and is an opportunity to support a family at the right time for them.

Early Help is not a service in its own right, it is a way of multi-agency working to support a family. This multiagency working identifies the most appropriate professional to act as lead professional for the family and to coordinate the package of support for the family to address identified needs.

Early Help can be offered as part of a step down of services from Social Care. Social Care will undertake the assessment on R4C and hold the 1st TAF meeting, where a lead professional will be identified to carry on the support moving forward.

Right for Children

Right for Children (R4C) is the computer program that is used to hold all information regarding a child and / or family.

It can be used to undertake the Early Help assessment, and as a way of planning support and reviewing the impact the plan has on a family. This program is used by all of the professionals involved with the family, and is useful in ensuring that all information regarding the family are logged in one central place and that the whole picture is available to everyone involved.

DCFP

Request for additional Services (RFaS) and Early Help triage

The RFaS referral form can be used to access additional services for a family to support identified needs as part of an Early Help assessment that has been undertaken on R4C.

Completed RFaS forms are discussed at weekly Early Help triage meetings that are held within locality and run by Early Help practitioners. The EH triage meeting is an opportunity for different agencies to get together and discuss families and signpost to additional services.

Early Help locality officers can allocate small amounts of EH funding to support a family with a specific need as part of their EH assessment, this funding can be requested via the RFaS.

How to use Early Help Support

Assess

  • Obtain written consent for all people (13+) living in the household
  • Check that the family are not already open on R4C
  • If not already open, Open new case on R4C and input basic information
  • Undertake an assessment of the family’s needs.

Plan

  • Look at identified needs and plan how to support the family
  • Consider other services that may be better to support in a specific area of need – form a team around the family
  • Call a TAF (Team Around the Family) meeting with all key professionals and the family

Review

  • Review the plan at least every 12 weeks
  • Consider what is going well/improving and which areas need further support
  • Once all areas of need are addressed and there are no support needs close the case
  • The family can receive further support in the future if needed by reopening the case on R4C

Further information

  • Additional Early Help information can be found on the DCFP website
  • Pinpoint Devon – Has details of thousands of community services and groups available in Devon.
  • Early Help customer services team – 0345 155 1071. They are open Monday to Friday 8am–8pm and Saturdays 9am–1pm

Professionals can attend practitioner forums which are held across county and is a good way to keep up to date on what support is being offered in different localities.

Senior professionals/ managers can attend monthly local alliance meetings to champion Early Help within their setting.

Email the Early Help hub for your locality to get on the mailing list to keep up to date with new services and support. Early Help Hubs in each of the four localities – Northern, Exeter, East and Mid, and Southern.


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