What do we mean by Early Help?
Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family early in the life of a problem, as soon as it emerges. It can be required at any stage in a child’s life from pre-birth to adulthood, and applies to any problem or need that the family cannot deal with or meet on their own. It also applies to all children and young people, with any form of need.
Early Help requires that agencies should work together as soon as a problem emerges or a need is identified to ensure the child gets the right response, and the right services, from the right people at the right time. Our aim is to meet need early and avoid a problem escalating or the need increasing.
Early Help is provided to prevent or reduce the need for specialist interventions unless they are absolutely the correct response to meet the need and resolve the problem.
Early Help can be provided in the most complex of circumstances as well as the simplest. Early help means responding promptly if a child is at immediate risk of harm (or has other significant or complex needs) as much as it means responding to a need which only requires advice or guidance.
The Early Help Handbook aims to explain how early help works in Birmingham. It is a guide for any practitioner working with children, young people and families across every sector, including, health, voluntary community, education (from early years to post 16), SEND, social care and youth justice. The handbook is organised into a series of questions and answers, with links that signpost the reader to further information throughout. To access the handbook click here.
The Birmingham Children's Partnership have been working to improve outcomes for young people in Birmingham. The partnership - including representatives from statutory and voluntary agencies, are working together on a range of initiatives and improvements to the way we work with children and families within the city, strengthening the Birmingham Early Help and safeguarding system. These include:
The Children’s Advice and Support Service (CASS), offering earlier partnership support, improving Early Help advice and access to MASH. For more information click here.
The Signs of Safety and Wellbeing Practice Framework, a strengths based methodology to help professionals work with families to look at what is working well for a family, what they are worried about and what needs to happen to improve the situation. For more information click here.
The Early Help Assessment and Our Family Plan, using the Signs of Safety and Wellbeing framework. For more information click here.
Guidance on Consent and Information Sharing to ensure consistency across the partnership – Please refer to Right Help Right time guidance (pages 8&9)
Launching over the next few months, the initiatives are part of ongoing improvements to the way we work with children and families within the city. Further details, timings and more information, guidance and support for staff will be shared as each of the initiatives are implemented.