Last updated: 11 November 2022
Next review: 11 November 2023
The Early Help Service (EHS) aims to address problems at the earliest opportunity and to enable families to support their children to reach their full potential.
It supports families with children and young people aged 0 to 19 and up to 25 with a disability.
The Early Help assessment for parents and carers
The Early Help service is provided on the basis of an assessment called Our Family Journey (OFJ) and it involves listening to your family to find out what your needs are and what is working well in your family’s life.
An action plan is agreed and put into place to make sure you get the right sort of help.
OFJ is voluntary, so you and your family have a choice to be involved or not.
How will OFJ help my family?
OFJ can lead to a quick solution or help to identify extra support if needed.
Additionally, it will ensure that everyone involved with your family, such as teachers and health visitors, works together to support your family better. As OFJ is a shared assessment, you and your family will not have to repeat the same story to different workers.
How does it work?
If you and your family agree, a worker will ask you some questions to find out what help and support you might need.
This information is recorded on a simple form. Older children may feel able to discuss their situation on their own with the worker. A young person's wish to keep information confidential from parents may be respected by the worker if it is in the young person's best interests and welfare.
Based on the information you provide, the worker can begin to complete an action plan with you and all those who can help. This may take place straight away, or the worker may need to make some enquiries and contact you again.
If multiple services are needed, a Team Around the Family (TAF) will be formed. A TAF is a group of people who provide support to your family and ensure all their needs are met in a coordinated manner.
What is a lead professional?
If a number of people are providing support to your family, one of these people may be appointed as a lead professional.
This person will keep you informed, listen to your views and support you. The named worker will also coordinate all the services supporting your family.
You and your family will have a say in who should be the lead professional.
The information that you and your family provide will only be shared with your consent.
However, there may be times when TAF may need to share information quickly, such as:
- When a child is at risk of harm
- When adult is at risk of harm
- To help prevent or detect a serious crime