Early Help Advice for Professionals

Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.

Early Help Assessment Process

The EHA is a simple way to help identify the needs of children and families and make a plan to meet those needs. Its purpose is to provide a co-ordinated response so no-one misses out on the support they need. It is used by all agencies in Northamptonshire who are delivering early help to the families they work with.

The EHA can be used to support children and young people between 0 to 19 years, including unborn babies, and can also be used with consent up to the age of 24 (where a young person has a learning difficulty or disability). ​

You need to talk to the family, including the children, about your worries and how an early help assessment can help with what's going well, what you are worried about and a plan to move forward. They need to understand and feel comfortable with it and know that its purpose is to help them. They need to consent to you sharing the information to access services and you should share the privacy notice with them.

You will need to hold consent from the family to share their EHA.

Start an EHA

You can use the guide below for instructions on signing up to use the referral form, logging in and saving completed copies of your referrals.

What happens if I can't get consent?

Complete the request for advice form for support.

Request early help advice

At this point you need to plan how to meet the needs you have identified in the EHA.

The EHA might identify needs which your agency can’t meet on its own. In this case you will need other professionals or services to help.

  • If you know who to involve, arrange a team around the family (TAF) meeting.
  • If you need help or advice on who to involve, contact us at earlyhelpadvice@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk or complete the online request for advice form. Once submitted an Early Help Coordinator will contact you to discuss what support may be available.

Request early help advice

If at any point you are concerned about the immediate safety or welfare of the child or young person, seek immediate advice from MASH on 0300 126 1000 at the end of the discussion.

The team around the family meeting is an opportunity to bring the family and those professionals supporting them together to review the action plan, discuss any new worries and look at improvements made.

The family and child or young person should attend and it is important to engage with them throughout the process to make sure their voices are heard.

What information do I need?

Key points to remember about your discussion are:

  • Working together - You and other services are working with the child or young person and their family to find solutions
  • Listening to the child or young person - The voice of the child and lived experience should be reflected throughout
  • Voluntary - If the child, young person, or family member doesn’t want to take part, you can’t force them
  • Focussed on the positives - This is a chance to talk about what a family does well, not just their challenges
  • Transparent - The child, young person or family should know what is happening at every point and have given their consent

If at any point you are concerned about the safety or welfare of the child or young person, seek immediate advice at the end of the discussion.

If you have started your TAF meetings and find:

  • you need support to identify which services may be able to work with you and the family
  • the family's needs meet Level 3 for targeted support

Please contact your Early Help Co-ordinator at earlyhelpadvice@childrenfirstnorthamptonshire.co.uk or complete our Request for Early Help Advice form.

Request early help advice

When the family and services agree all the actions on the action plan have been achieved, and further additional support is no longer required, an online closure form needs to be completed and submitted. This will ensure that the completion is recorded and records are closed on NCC’s case management systems.

EHA closure form

What happens if I need help?

If you have any queries about the Early Help process, please contact us using the request for advice form.

Request early help advice

Supporting information