Every family has its ups and downs. Being a parent is hard work and there are no instructions. Sometimes, you or your children may need extra support. This may be before your children are born, when they are very young, or throughout their school years. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help. Early Help helps you recognise what’s going well for you, where you may benefit from extra help, and who is the best person to work with you and your family to make this happen. This may be through an Early Help Assessment (EHA).
There are times when children, young people and families need extra help. Someone might offer this to you, but other times you might want to ask for it.
What is early help?
Early help is a way of getting extra support when your family needs it, but getting it as soon as difficulties start, rather than waiting until things get worse. It’s for children and young people of any age. Help can come from all kinds of services and organisations who work together to support your family. You might be using some of these services already, but we want to make sure they are providing the right support for you and your family’s needs.
Why would I seek early help?
It could be that you’re worried about your child’s health, development or behaviour ,or perhaps because you are caring for a disabled child. Maybe your child is affected by domestic abuse, drugs, or alcohol. Perhaps your child is a carer for other people.
Who do I ask?
Have a chat with a teacher or health professional. They can help you look at what types of support is available and who might be able to help. Your local children, young people and families centre also has lots of services and support for families with children, some especially for children with additional needs.
What sort of services or help do I get?
It depends on what you need and it might include services you already get. We will agree it with you and make sure it all joins up.
What happens in an early help assessment?
You will be fully involved and we will listen to you. It may be that we just talk to you and point you to the support you want. If it’s a bit more complicated, we’ll need to ask you for information that we write down or type. This is so we can get the right information and share it (if you agree) with people who need to know, so we can better understand your circumstances and match up services that would support you. You’ll get a plan showing what you want to achieve and the support you need.
Can I say no to an early help assessment?
Yes you can. But we would like to stay in contact with you in case your circumstances alter or you change your mind.
Does it mean social services will get involved?
No. If in the future your circumstances change and it becomes a possibility, we will keep you involved and work with you so that you understand what is happening and why.
What happens when I stop receiving early help services?
We want you to become confident and able to find your own solutions and take responsibility for your family. You can continue to use all services that are open to families and children, and if your needs change then please ask us for further help if you need it.