Prevention and Early Help

What is Prevention and Early Help?

Prevention and Early Help is the name we give to the way we support families and communities in Bradford.

Prevention is about stopping problems emerging in the first place. Early Help is about preventing problems that are happening from getting worse.

Prevention and Early Help is about making sure families receive prompt and assertive help as early as possible when needs are identified, either by families themselves asking for help or professionals having worries or seeing needs before they become problematic.

It can include both support to the family in the earliest years of a child’s life and a swift response to the emergence of a problem at any stage later in their lives. A good Early Help plan supports the parents so we can make things better for the children.

GPs, health visiting, schools, Colleges, Family Hubs, school nurses, youth services, child care or other community settings often provide most support through working together on a day-to-day basis.

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 I contact if I need support? 

If you are a professional and want to find out about local activities and support for children, families and young people, please visit the  Families Information Service website and/or SEND Local Offer, which provides information and services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, including short breaks.

You can also speak to someone from the Families Information Service by contacting:

Telephone helpline:   01274 437503

Urdu/Punjabi Helpline:  01274 431252
Polish/Slovak/Czech Helpline:  01274 434905
Mobile:  Text ‘FIS’ to 07781472076 and you will receive a call back

Who should I contact if this support doesn’t meet the young person or families’ needs?

Then please call the Early Help Gateway on  01274 432121

The Early Help Gateway is made up of workers and managers from Early Help, the Police and Families Information Service. There is also involvement from social workers and Primary Mental Health Link Workers. They will use Signs of Safety in their conversations with you. If you need to email the gateway and have a secure email, please email

If you have a Bradford Schools Online account please return your completed form(s) using the PostBox. Ensure you select the “TEH – Request for support” folder from the list of folders on the left before clicking the Upload File button.

Good practice would be to complete the referral form with the parent this means you can obtain as much detail as possible.

In order to process your referral in a timely manner we need the following information to be included-

  • Clear indication that the person with parental responsibility has given consent -we will accept verbal consent at this stage but this must be clearly indicated on the referral form.
  • Family address including postcode and any other significant adults the family have -these may be a source of support.
  • All people living in the child’s household including their dates of birth and ethnic origin.
  • Agencies that the family may already be involved with.
  • If any of the children you are referring have a EHCP or a disability diagnosis it would be useful if you could also attach the plan/multi agency diagnosis report.

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 Family Hub 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 Family Hub panels now taking place regularly across the District.

You will need agreement from the family to the referral using the Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) and send this to the Early Help Gateway.  We will inform the referrer of the outcome of any request for support within 48 hours of receiving the Common Referral Form.

Please note we do not accept documents that have been hand written and scanned, please complete the form electronically stating the name instead of signature of parent in the consent box.

Should you require support re completing the referral please speak to a gateway practitioner on 01274 432121, they will also give advice on-

  • 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 Multi Agency Referral FormIf you have a Bradford Schools Online account please return your completed form(s) using the PostBox. Ensure you select the “TEH – Request for support” folder from the list of folders on the left before clicking the Upload File button. Alternatively forms can be sent to the gateway at   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 Cluster if universal services can provide the agreed support.
  • Receive step down from social work assessment teams.

Which Family Hub is the family in?
You can use the Post Code Checker to find out which cluster will be able to support the family.  The Family Hubs and contact details are also listed on these pages.

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.

Who do I contact if I think a child is at risk of harm?

If you have a concern that a child is being harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, YOU MUST NOT keep these concerns to yourself.  You should call:

  • Children’s Initial Contact Point – 01274 437500 during office hours
  • At all other times, call the Emergency Duty Team on 01274 431010
  • If you have reason to believe that a child is at immediate risk of harm, contact the police on 999

Visit these pages if you are concerned about adult abuse or domestic violence.

Links to

Signs of Safety

Safeguarding Children in Bradford