What Early Help is
While most children and their families in Oxfordshire can have a good quality of life with minimal additional support from public services, some find life more difficult for a variety of reasons.
At different times in their lives, children, young people and their families in these circumstances may need additional support and help from universal, targeted and specialist services
There is strong evidence that helping families early and providing support at the right time at the right place can reduce the likelihood of problems escalating and improve long-term outcomes for children, young people and their families. This enables families to move on from difficulty and lead happier and healthier lives.
Early Help can make the most difference when family support is provided before problems escalate. Early help or early intervention reflects the widespread recognition that it is better to identify and resolve problems early, rather than respond when difficulties have become acute, and action is needed by more expensive and specialist services.
Working with a child and their family to address their needs early can reduce risk factors (worries) and increase protective factors (what is working well). We want families to know that it is always OK to ask for help.
Providing early help to children and families is a priority for Oxfordshire County Council and its partners. Together we are committed to ensuring children and families get the right help and support at the earliest opportunity.
The role of involved agencies
All agencies that work with children, young people and families are responsible for listening to families' concerns and worries and working closely with families to make sure they get the right support at the right time.
All agencies should be aware of the early help processes and understand their role in them. The process can include:
- identifying emerging problems
- liaising with the designated safeguarding lead
- sharing information with other professionals to support early identification and assessment
- acting as the lead professional
We want every child, young person and family to get the help and support they need to succeed as early as possible. Early Help needs for Children and Families can be identified using the Strengths and Needs Form and Team Around the Family tools.
For more information on Early Help and the Locality and Community Support Service that supports professionals to do this please go to the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board website.
Early help tools and forms
The Strengths and Needs Form and team Around the Family
We have adapted the Early Help Assessment and created the Strengths and Needs Form. The change responds to feedback from partner agencies and families that a more user-friendly assessment was required – families worked closely with us and felt that Early Help is about having a conversation about their strengths and need and hence the name change and form re-design.
For more information on tools go to the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board website.