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3.1 Early Help

RELATED CHAPTERS

Thresholds for Children’s Social Care

The Early Help Assessment

AMENDMENT

In July 2019, this chapter was updated in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children. A link was added to Bolton local information. Updated links were added for Tameside and Salford local information.


Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child's life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years. Early help can also prevent further problems arising, for example, if it is provided as part of a support plan where a child has returned home to their family from care.

Effective early help relies upon local agencies working together to:

  • Identify children and families who would benefit from early help;
  • Undertake an assessment of the need for early help; and
  • Provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child. Local authorities, under section 10 of the Children Act 2004, have a responsibility to promote inter-agency cooperation to improve the welfare of children.

The provision of early help services should form part of a continuum of support to respond to the different levels of need of individual children and families.

The professionals in Greater Manchester are supported through training and supervision to understand their role in identifying new and emerging threats, including online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation and radicalisation.

They continue to develop their knowledge and skills in sharing information with other professionals to assist with early identification and use of assessments such as Early Help Assessment process.

Any child may benefit from early help, but practitioners should, in particular, be alert to the potential need for early help for a child who:

  • Is disabled and has specific additional needs;
  • Has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan);
  • Is a young carer;
  • Is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups;
  • Is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
  • Is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation;
  • Is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
  • Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse;
  • Is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
  • Has returned home to their family from care;
  • Is a privately fostered child.

Local Early Help Strategies

Bolton

Salford

Manchester – see also the Manchester Social Work and Early Help Working Together Guidance.

Rochdale

Tameside

Trafford

Stockport

End