Early Help Assessment and Team Around the Family | Oxfordshire County Council

Early Help Assessment and Team Around the Family

EHA, TAF and Lead Professional information and resources

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) have now adapted the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and created the Early Help Assessment (EHA).  The change responds to feedback from partner agencies and families that a more user friendly assessment was required.  The EHA has been created using feedback from young people, parents and professionals across Oxfordshire.

OCC and partner agencies want all children and young people to have the best start in life and receive the on-going support that they and their families need to fulfil their potential.

Services for all children and young people (such as schools, colleges, early years settings, health visiting) have a key role in promoting wellbeing and preventing problems. For the majority of children and young people high quality universal services will enable them to achieve good outcomes and reach their full potential.

Whole Family/Think Family Approach

Oxfordshire County Council have adopted a whole family approach to ensure the best outcomes can be achieved for children and families and hence the Team Around the Child will become the Team Around the Family (TAF).

A Whole Family Approach

Improved outcomes are achieved for children and families by having a whole family approach, where children and young people are not viewed in isolation and, wherever appropriate, action is taken to address issues that affect the whole family.

The Governments Troubled Families Programme is focused on families with the highest level of needs and who are facing the greatest challenges. It seeks to identify and improve outcomes relating to crime and antisocial behaviour; school attendance; level of need; financial exclusion and out of work; domestic abuse and; health problems. The essential elements of this work includes: a whole family assessment; a whole family, multi-agency, outcome focused plan, driven by a named key worker, leading to transformation of public services and improved outcomes for children and families.

The Early Help Assessment

The EHA promotes more effective, earlier identification of additional needs, particularly in universal services. It is intended to provide a simple process for a holistic assessment of a child’s needs and strengths, taking account of the role of parents, carers and environmental factors on their development. The assessment is designed to consider the needs of the whole family as Practitioners will then be better placed to agree, with the child and family, about what support is appropriate. The EHA will also help to improve integrated working by promoting co-ordinated service provision.

For all EHA/TAF/ToN documents and support tools please visit the OSCB website.

The Team Around the Family (TAF)

Oxfordshire are moving from the 'Team Around a Child' to the 'Team Around the Family'

A Team Around the Family (TAF) takes a think family approach and considers the whole family to ensure best outcomes for children, by co-ordinating the support they receive from children’s, young people’s, adults’ and family services. A child never exists individually and exists in a whole family unit which is important to consider when approaching a TAF meeting it is important that we work in a 'Think Family' way. This means ensuring there is:

  • One lead professional – who acts as the main contact point for families and co-ordinates appropriate support
  • One whole family assessment - which considers the needs of all family members, and how these interrelate, but which also retains a central focus on the wellbeing and safety of children
  • One family plan – which all involved agencies and the family are working towards. This plan should be developed in partnership with both services and family members, should consider the family's expressed wishes, and should clearly articulate the desired outcomes to address identified concerns.

 

The team works together to plan co-ordinated support from agencies to address problems in a holistic way. The family and child/children will be an integral part of the process to develop the action plan.

  • The TAF is part of the EHA process and comes after the EHA has been completed
  • The TAF may support several children in a family
  • The Early Help Assessment is key to identifying who should be part of the TAF

Forming the TAF

  • Following a EHA assessment if a multi-agency response is required a TAF should be arranged by the EHA author
  • The child or young person and/or their parent/carer must be kept at the centre of the process
  • Invite relevant practitioners as identified through the EHA assessment and through discussion with the family
  • Discuss the lead professional role before the TAF
  • When appropriate a Social Worker will coordinate and lead an exit from social care to a TAF and may invite the Locality Community Support worker along to support in the beginning stages from statutory to community based support

TAF materials, including practitioners and managers guides are available on the OSCB website.

During TAF

  • TAF review notes are sent to all who attended or sent apologies
  • TAF Team deliver agreed actions
  • Monitor and review progress: TAF team liaise with Lead Professional

Send all minutes of the TAF to your LCSS team to store

Closing the TAF

  • If the child or young person’s needs have been met the TAF is closed and their final comments on their experience is recorded
  • Send TAF notes and closure/evaluation forms completed by a TAF Team member and the family to your LCSS team

 

LCSS North

Samuelson House, Tramway Rd, Banbury OX16 5AU

LCSS.North@oxfordshire.gov.uk

 

LCSS Central

Knights Court, Between Towns Road, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 3LX

LCSS.Central@oxfordshire.gov.uk

 

LCSS South

Abbey House, Abbey Close, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 3JD

LCSS.South@oxfordshire.gov.uk

 

 Who can be the Lead Professional (LP)

  • A professional who has experience and feels confident with EHA/TAF process (may have undertaken training)
  • The professional who knows the family and the family are happy with this choice
  • Many TAF processes require multiple reviews and during this period the Lead Professional role may need to change as the support changes

The EHA /TAF should be undertaken by a lead professional who can provide support to the child and family, act as an advocate on their behalf and coordinate the delivery of support services. The lead professional role could be undertaken by a General Practitioner (GP), family support worker, teacher, health visitor and/or special educational needs coordinator. Decisions about who should be the lead professional should be taken on a case by case basis and should be informed by the wishes of the child and their family.

All staff should be aware of the early help process, and understand their role in it. This includes identifying emerging problems, liaising with the designated safeguarding lead, sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment and, in some cases, acting as the lead professional in undertaking an early help assessment.

Best practice

  • Decide who the lead professional should be prior to the first TAF meeting
  • The decision should be made by the family and be reviewed according to which agencies need to remain around the family
  • The LP is a single point of contact for the child, young person and family
  • The LP is a single point of contact for all practitioners working with a child
  • Convene the TAF meetings to enable integrated multi-agency support
  • Coordinate delivery of solution focused actions and ensure regular reviews
  • Identify where others may need to be involved and broker involvement
  • Continue support, if appropriate, when specialist assessments are needed
  • Support the child/young person through key transition points
  • Ensure a safe and planned handover if a different LP is agreed and more appropriate

Lead professional materials, including practitioners' and managers' guides, factsheets and details about the role are available on the OSCB website.

Myth Busting for Lead Professionals

The Lead Professional

  • Does not need any particular qualifications and will not be expected to work outside their usual remit
  • Does not become responsible for the needs of the entire family
  • Does not have to be solely responsible for taking the minutes – this can be shared as a collective group on a rotational basis
  • Is not responsible or accountable for actions by other practitioners or services in the TAF
  • Is not automatically the person who initiated the EHA
  • Does not need any particular qualifications and will not be expected to work outside their usual remit

Management for Lead Professionals and the TAF

Lead professionals should expect managers to ensure:

  • Lead Professional responsibilities are taken into account when setting caseloads
  • Performance in delivering the Lead Professional functions is recognised and recorded
  • Clear communication between agencies to support Lead Professional practice
  • Appropriate and up to date training and supervision is provided along with coaching and mentoring where appropriate

TAF practitioners should also expect support to fulfil their responsibilities

Training

The Locality and Community Support Service will deliver Early Help Assessment and Team Around the Family training on behalf of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) These training dates replace previous CAF/TAF training.

For future dates and to book onto these courses please visit:  http://www.oscb.org.uk/booking-training/

If you have a concern about a child/family but it is not an immediate safeguarding concern, then you should refer to the Threshold of Needs matrix, which can be found on the OSCB website. This tool is designed to support professionals to make decisions as to whether contact needs to be made with Childrens Services and if so which team.

If after consulting the Threshold of Need, you still have concerns for a child that does not require an immediate safeguarding response, then you should contact your Locality and Community Support Service to discuss.

No Names Consultations

No Names Consultation enables professionals to talk through concerns they have for children when there is not an immediate safeguarding concern and where there is no consent from the family. If you require a No Names Consultation then please contact your local LCSS team.

Early Help Referral Route

LCSS will work with partners to identify those families who require additional support from the Early Help Team.

Last reviewed
08 March 2017
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