Sometimes it's obvious that a child or young person could benefit from receiving help early on, but it's not clear what type of help is best for them; they could have lots of needs, or their needs could be complex or unclear. An Early Help Assessment (EHA) can help ensure that they get the right help.
Anyone who works with children and young people can start an EHA.
What an EHA is for
An EHA aims to do the following things:
- Identify unmet needs
- Support early intervention
- Ensure integrated working between professionals
Possible reasons to carry out an EHA
You can carry out an EHA, if any of the following apply:
- you are concerned about a child or young person’s wellbeing, but it is not a safeguarding concern
- when the needs of the child or young person are not clear
- if more than one service is needed or already supporting a child or young person, and a co-ordinated approach would help
- if the family requests an assessment.
Carry out an EHA
Carry out an EHA in partnership with the child or young person and their family, and ALWAYS get their consent. You should also consider getting input from other professionals working alongside the child or young person and their family when you carry out the EHA. Once the EHA is complete, consider doing the following:
- Organise a Team Around the Child/Family (TAC/TAF) meeting, which should include the child or young person and their family, as well as other professionals involved with the them
- Complete an action plan
- Review progress, prevent any barriers and celebrating successes
- Ensure the child or young person is involved and at the centre of all discussions and decisions
The TAC/TAF meeting can include the child or young person's family, their school or other agencies already involved with them.
These other agencies could be from any of the following areas
- Adult services
- Youth work
If you are interested in finding out more about early help, the EHA or the training we run in this area, please contact us on 01225 39 54 48 or 01225 39 53 08. Alternatively, visit our learning zone website.
You can ask for an EHA, if you think your child may need some extra support, or a professional may suggest this to you instead. Either way, the earlier an EHA is carried out, the sooner this extra support can be explored. A professional will complete the EHA form and identify the needs and strengths of your child, who will also be included in the assessment.
An EHA is entirely voluntary, so if you don’t think it is right for your child, you don’t have to complete one.
Benefits of EHAs
The benefits of an EHA are:
- you and your child have the chance to tell your story
- you receive a more ‘joined up’ approach to supporting your family
- you don't have to repeat the same information to everyone you meet during this assessment, as the information will be shared out
- you get a lead professional to keep you informed every step of the way, and to answer any questions you have (explained in more detail below)
- your child's needs are at the centre of the assessment.
Who is a lead professional?
A lead professional is normally someone you already know who coordinates the support being offered to you and your child. You will have a say in who your lead professional will be. This prevents other professionals repeating work that has already been done, or doing the same work as someone else. It can also be difficult to remember everyone if there are lots of people supporting your child and family, so a lead professional can help with this. They can also act as your main point of contact, ensuring you have your say at every stage of the assessment.
Who is involved in an EHA?
Your child and your family are at the centre of the EHA, but anyone working with children and young people can also be involved.
This includes any of the following people
- School nurse
- Health Visitor
- Youth Worker
- Scout leader
- Anyone else your child is currently working with
Start an EHA for your child
If you would like an EHA for your child, you can contact any professional who may already be working with them. Alternatively, call our Integrated Working Team (IWT) who can help you identify someone, on 01225 39 50 21, or email IWT@bathnes.gov.uk
Once an EHA has been carried out, a number of things will then happen:
- A team around the child or family (also known as TAC/TAF) meeting will be arranged, which includes the team who are already supporting the child or young person, as well as any new new professionals who can offer further support.
- During the meeting, an action plan is put together, which formalises the support being offered, and lets the child or young person and their family know exactly who is going to do what, and when - a lead professional will also be agreed.
- Review meetings will usually take place 8 to 12 weeks after the first meeting - they make sure the support being offered is working, and address any problems. It could be that further actions are added to support your child.
The EHA is a working document, and updates can be made at any time.