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Early Help Strategy 2021-2024

What is Early Help?

Early Help is taking action early to provide support where problems are emerging for children, young people and their families. Early help support may be provided at any point in a child or young person’s life. The sooner the family receives the support, the sooner they are able to improve their situation and prevent the need for prolonged support.

Early Help is here to find out what is working well for families and what areas they might be worried about; it can help to build on families strengths and identify any needs where support might be needed. It is an approach that brings people together from different teams and services who work together with the whole family. The main focus is to improve outcomes for children.

Why would I need Early Help?

The type of things that Early Help can support you with include:

  • Worries about your child’s health development or behaviour
  • You might be worried about how they are doing at school
  • You might have worries about money or housing and how that is affecting you
  • Your child and family may be affected by domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol, ill health or crime

Early Help can give you the tools to solve challenges or problems you are experiencing with help from others where needed.

Who do I ask for help?

You can talk with someone who you’re familiar with - a teacher, health professional or support worker who might be able to help.

You can also contact your local Family Centre and ask to speak to a Duty Worker who will be able to provide lots of advice around Early Help and how it might be able to support you.

Key Principles

  • The welfare of children and young people is our key priority - safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all services operate within the thresholds framework to safeguard and promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Early help is everyone’s responsibility - all services working with children, young people, and families have a role to play in the wellbeing of children, young people and their families
  • The views and influence of children and young people are crucial in delivering and monitoring the Early Help strategy
  • We will offer help as early as possible and before problems escalate.
  • Working with the whole family produces the best outcomes, with all services involved with family members working together, and families only telling their ‘story’ once.
  • Families are our partners - we will work together with families to become stronger, more resilient and better able to help themselves.
  • Wherever possible early help will be accessed through universal services.
  • Our approach and services will be evidence based and focused on what works for children and families
  • All practitioners will have a shared vision and common skills to put the family at the heart of deciding and implementing solutions

The Early Help Assessment (EHA)

The Early Help Assessment forms a key part of the Early Help Strategy and is a simple way to help identify the needs of children, young people and their families and make a plan to meet those needs. It is designed to be a shared tool which can be used by all agencies in Dudley who are delivering early help. It is a standardised approach so that all children and families have the same experience of identifying their needs, strengths and challenges. It also means that all agencies and partners are operating the same system which ensures consistency right across the partnership.

The approach of early identification puts children and young people at the heart of the assessment and will prevent issues escalating to statutory services.

If you require further information about Early Help or need support in completing an assessment, please contact the respective Family Centre. If you are unable to return your completed EHA via secure email, please hand deliver to your local Family Centre.

Family Group Conference (FGC)

A family group conference (FGC) is a voluntary, family decision making process to address concerns raised by professionals about your child.

Dudley Parenting Service

The Dudley Parenting Service provide a range of parenting programmes to offer support to families in the Dudley borough.

Useful resources

If you are struggling or need help and advice you can visit one of our Family Centres or check out our Early Help and Family Information Service for more information and resources.