Our Early Help Strategy sets out our partnership approach to early help.
You can find out about:
- Early Help for professionals
- Early Help support provided and considerations
- Early Help Assessments
- intervention plans
- review meetings
- make an Early Help referral.
Early Help is a term used by agencies in Medway to describe support for potentially vulnerable children, young people and families as soon as problems start to show.
Early Help is not just for very young children, because problems can show at any point throughout childhood and adolescence.
Children and families are entitled to Early Help if they need more support. Its main purpose is to prevent problems from increasing by building resilience. This can be done through quick and targeted interventions for families.
Early Help is a shared responsibility and is everyone's responsibility.
Most children's needs are met by their family and services available to everyone, but some children need additional support to ensure their education, health, social and development needs are met.
Children may be supported by:
- a single agency
- several agencies working together with a lead practitioner co-ordinating the work.
What to consider with Early Help
It's important you consider what support the child has around them first. You should then look at their family, wider family, partner agencies, universal services and specialist services.
You need to consider and understand what level of support a family may need, and who the appropriate lead is for the family. This could be:
- a community partner
- a Family Solutions practitioner.
As a professional, you could be asked to:
- be a lead practitioner
- contribute to an Early Help Assessment or intervention plan
- attend an Early Help review.
Early Help Assessments are a process for understanding the strengths and needs of a family. It's based on discussions with the child or young person, their family and relevant partner agencies involved with the family.
The aim of an Early Help Assessment is to support children, young people and families with additional needs through:
- early identification
- swift intervention
- a planned and co-ordinated response.
The assessment can help us to:
- identify the support needed
- empower children, young people and their families
- provide support if needs increase or become more complex or urgent.
If you're identified as an appropriate lead delivering Early Help, you'll work closely with families to make sure:
- their needs are identified
- an intervention plan is put in place to reach the families goals and outcomes
- the family gets the support they need
- other partner agencies who can support the family are included.
Intervention plans are used across Early Help partner agencies including:
- Medway Childrens Services
- Family Solutions.
Plans are timely and designed to help a practitioner:
- explore strengths and concerns with a family and their network
- make sure a family can access support and services to address any concerns
- identify outcomes for the family to achieve within 6 to 8 weeks.
The aim is to provide brief and focused intervention that will be reviewed with the family and relevant agencies every 6 weeks.
If you're a practitioner or lead practitioner working with the family, you'll need to attend or complete reviews of the intervention plan.
If you're invited to a review meeting, you'll need to:
- attend the meeting when needed or provide an update or report
- bring all relevant information with you
- carry out actions to help support the family
- support the family to meet their outcomes.
Review meetings are held every 6 to 8 weeks and your involvement will depend on each family’s case.
The main aims of a review meeting are to:
- bring together children, young people, parents, and practitioners
- look at the plan in place and consider any changes that have happened since the plan started. There is a focus on the positives as well as areas where support is still needed
- make sure parents, carers, children, and young people have an equal role in agreeing goals and how to meet those goals
- make sure everyone involved in the plan is completing the intervention they agreed to do.
If you feel a family needs Early Help intervention, you can request this using our online make a family solutions (Early Help) referral form.