Early Help

Aim of Early Help

Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family early in the life of a problem or as soon as it emerges. It can be required at any stage in a child's life from pre-birth to adulthood and applies equally to safeguard or complex needs that a family cannot deal with or meet on their own.

Early Help support requires agencies to work together to ensure a child and their family receives support in a timely and responsive way, so that children are safeguarded, their educational, social and emotional needs are met, and outcomes are good.

Early Help reflects the widespread evidence base that it is better to identify and deal with problems early rather than respond when difficulties have emerged, when interventions can be less effective and often more expensive. Early Help assessments and intensive support is currently offered through the Early Help Units, whilst Open Access services provide universal, targeted and additional support.


  • building on families existing resources with a culture of high aspiration and empathy
  • building family wellbeing and resilience that leads to sustained change
  • listening to the voice of the children, young people and families and using their voice to shape our support
  • joining up services to support families at the right time and in the right pace, with a focus on reducing transitions.

The Early Help Strategy introduces a new streamlined assessment using Signs of Safety, a strength-based approach to work with children and families. Working Together 2018 states for an assessment to be effective 'it should be undertaken with the agreement of the child and their parents or carers, involving the child and family as well as all the practitioners who are working with them. It should take account of the child's wishes and feelings wherever possible; their age, family circumstances, the wider community context in which they are living'.

Hence, the importance of talking to the family and gaining their agreement to engage with services in order to support them. If the parent/carer refuses support, read 'Refusal to Engage or Disguised Compliance.