What is Early Help?
Early Help is about families receiving prompt and assertive help when a need is identified, either by families themselves asking for help or professionals having worries or seeing something that needs addressing before it becomes problematic.
Early Help can include both support to the family in the earliest years of a child’s life and also a swift response to the emergence of a problem at any stage later in their lives.
An Early Help plan supports the parents so we can work together with them to make things better for the children – this is a ‘Think Family’ approach.
This approach can see a range of practitioners and professionals working together with the family on a day-to-day basis. This may include GPs, health visitors, schools, Colleges, children’s centres, school nurses, youth services, child care or other community settings. Through early help and more co-ordinated working we are seeking to ensure that families get ‘the right support at the right time’ and any possible duplication across services is avoided.
All schools and colleges are also expected to set out how they will provide support to pupils, particularly those with special educational or additional needs.
Who should families contact?
As a first step for families who may want help in finding local support, we recommend they contact the Families Information Service or if they need signposting to support for disabled children and young people (including short breaks), that they visit Bradford’s Local Offer website.
Contact details for Families Information Service are:
Telephone helpline: 01274 437503 (8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday)
Urdu/Punjabi Helpline: 01274 431252
Polish/Slovak/Czech Helpline: 01274 434905
Mobile: Text ‘FIS’ to 07781472076 and we will call you back.
What if the family need more help or can’t find a service?
If the information or help the family is not available from FIS or the Local Offer, Then please call the Early Help Gateway on 01274 432121. If you use a secure email then you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us please call 01274 432121 for different ways to share information securely. Bradford Council employees emailing within the Council can use the standard early help email to send referrals to gateway: email@example.com
The Early Help Gateway is made up of workers and managers from Early Help, the police and Families Information Services. There is also involvement from social workers and primary mental health link workers. The Early Help Gateway uses Signs of Safety in its approach. Signs of safety is a new way in which the Council and partners are working with families and children to help them with their problems.
Using Signs of Safety means the gateway staff will focus on:
- what is the family member or worker worried about?
- what is going well for the family and who already helps them?
- how we think extra support may help this family?
The gateway will provide advice and guidance and, if appropriate, will link families through to groups and services near where they live through one of the district-wide Early Help teams or a locality based cluster team or panel.
Early Help Plans
Early Help also happens when services already working with families identify the need for a multi-agency plan. Those practitioners identifying the need for multi-agency support should complete an Early Help Assessment with the family to identify strengths and needs, co-ordinate a Team Around the Family Meeting and share information (with consent) with other agencies. They are drawing on the people who already work with them and the family.
At the first Team Around the Family Meeting a lead worker will be agreed with the family, who will continue to co-ordinate support and be the key contact for the family to make sure the plan is addressing their needs and progress is being made.
We ask the lead worker to log this plan with the Early Help Gateway. The Gateway can also provide advice, support and links to groups. The Gateway will contact the lead worker after three months to see if the plan is still active.
Getting extra help for children and families
If you need to get more intensive help or if the family is not engaging with the Early Help Plan and you are still worried, one of our Targeted Early Help Teams may be able to provide or arrange intensive and time limited support. It may be that the situation needs to be discussed at one of the multi-agency Early Help panels now taking place regularly across the District.
You will need agreement from the family to the referral using the Children’s Services Common Referral Form and send this to the Early Help Gateway. An example copy of the kind of information this needs to include is available. We will inform the referrer of the outcome of any request for support within 48 hours of receiving the Common Referral Form.
Early Help clusters
There are five targeted Early Help clusters across the district. The clusters are co-terminus with our Children’s Centres, school nursing and Health Visiting Teams.
Each targeted Early Help cluster team and/or the multi agency panel in each area will be able to:
- Advise on existing early help assessments and plans
- Provide information, advice and support for Lead Workers in relation to relevant multi-agency support available in the cluster.
- Support Lead Workers where Early Help plans have become ‘stuck’ and there is little or no change and there may be difficulty in engaging services to provide necessary support.
- Advise on access to extra support and/or the Early Help Panel
- All requests for active support MUST be made on a Children’s Services Common Referral Form and sent to the gateway at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us please call 01274 432121 for different ways to share information securely.
- Receive step down cases from social work teams to ensure relevant support remains in place. This should be done by using a step down meeting to continue to support families who need this to prevent needing social care interventions again. Step down cases do not necessarily need to be stepped down to a Targeted Early Help Hub if universal services can provide the agreed support.
- Receive step down from social work assessment teams.
Which cluster is the family in?
You can use the Post Code Checker to find out which cluster will be able to support the family. The clusters and contact details are listed below
If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us please call 01274 432121 for different ways to share information securely.
Airedale & Wharfdale (including Shipley)
Cluster Manager is Elke Crunden
Telephone: 01274 436600
Cluster Manager is Lisa Bray
Telephone: 01535 618300
East & BD5
Cluster Manager is Manjit Cheema
Telephone: 01274 436500
West & Lister Park
Cluster Managers are Sharon Hobson and Sue Walker
Telephone: 01274 436700
Cluster Manager is Derek Lawrence
Telephone: 01274 436500