Find out how to get help early on for children, young people and their families with clear, multiple or complex needs. We can offer help and support to meet these needs and reduce possible risks.
What is early help?
Early help means providing support to potentially vulnerable children, young people and their families as soon as problems start to emerge. If they're facing certain challenges, or have complex needs which cannot be dealt with by universal services (for example, schools, health visitors, school nurses), they can be referred to us for help.
Working together with other agencies
We work with a number of agencies who come together as a team to:
- identify children, young people and families who would benefit from early help
- undertake an assessment of the need for early help
- provide targeted early help services and interventions to address the assessed needs of a child, young person and their family, and improve their outcomes.
If a child or young person has multiple needs, this multi-agency approach usually works best. An Early Help Assessment (EHA) should be undertaken and coordinated by a practitioner in a lead professional role who will work alongside the family to ensure they receive all the support they require.
Early help options
A professional who works with children, and who you may also know, could suggest early help (for example, a teacher or a health visitor). Alternatively, you can ask them to refer you and your family for more help and support, and with your consent they will complete a referral with you.
Your referral can either go directly to a single service, or it may be discussed at the Early Help Allocation Panel.
Early help assessment
Another way of finding early help is to ask for an Early Help Assessment, also known as an EHA. A professional can complete this form alongside you and identify the needs and strengths of your child, who will also be included in the assessment. Find out more about the EHA on our web page, or call 01225 39 50 21.
Early help targeted support
You can refer a child or young person directly to one of our services, if it's clear that the child or young person has a single, overall need. Go through the following checklist first:
- confirm the child or young person need early help by checking the threshold of needs matrix
- confirm that the child or young person's needs are clear and are not currently being met
- identify a service which will meet their needs.
Some services you can go directly to are our:
- Connecting Families team, who provide help and support to families with complex needs (if eligible)
- Children's Centre services, who offer general family support, personal and employment skills support, as well as home learning services
- Compass crime prevention service that works with young people aged 8 – 17, who may be at risk of becoming involved in offending behaviour. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a referral.
You can refer direct to other voluntary sector projects or commissioned early help services. Download our free Early Help App for details of all of our services (including our commissioned early help targeted support services) from the Apple or Android store, or by searching for ‘B&NES Early Help’.
Request early help
Please note, this is a voluntary process and you must get signed consent from the parent or carer, or young person when you submit your request.
Other ways to request early help
If you have access to this system, the GlobalScape folder that we use is called 'Children and Young People’s Specialist Service (CYPSS)'.
Write 'private and confidential to be opened by addressee only' on your envelope, and post to: Children and Families Assessment and Intervention Team – DUTY, People and Communities Department, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath BA1 1JG.
Please note, this is a postal address only.
For further advice, or if you're unsure about requesting early help, call 01225 39 61 11 or 01225 47 79 29 (Mon to Thurs 8.30am to 5pm, Fri 8.30am to 4.30pm). Alternatively, if you would like to discuss completing an early help assessment (EHA), please call our Integrated Working team on 01225 39 50 21.
If you need to talk to us about a child with disabilities or additional needs then you can call us on 01225 39 69 67.
Early Help Allocation Panel (EHAP)
Your early help request will be considered at our Early Help Allocation Panel (EHAP) which meets every two weeks to ensure that the child or young person receives timely support from the most appropriate service.
We aim to contact you within five working days and follow this up with a written response within 15 working days.
If a safeguarding concern becomes clear whilst we are processing your request, the Chair of the EHAP will pass it to the social care duty manager, or service manager, for a discussion and agreement about the best course of action.
We will also consider a child or young person who doesn't meet the thresholds (above), but would benefit from early help, even though it might not be clear which early help service is suitable.