4.3 Early Help Plan/ Strengthening Families Assessments
Last reviewed in March 2022
See also - Healthy child programme schedule of interventions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)- The healthy child programme schedule of interventions tool brings together evidence, guidance, information and resources to describe local prevention and early intervention activities from preconception to 19 years of age, or 25 where there is a statutory entitlement.
Early Help/ Strengthening Families
The Early Help Plan is a nationally standardised approach to conducting an assessment of the needs of a child or young person and deciding how those needs should be met.
The Early Help Plan is not for when there is concern that a child may have been harmed or may be at risk of Significant Harm. In these circumstances the procedures set out in Section 3, Recognition and Referral of Abuse and Neglect must be followed.
Use of the Early Help Plan should not delay a referral to Children's Social Care if there are concerns that a child has suffered or is likely to suffer Significant Harm. If a Early Help Plan has already been completed, or is in progress, when the concerns are recognised, this can be used to support the Referral and the information already gathered will contribute to the assessment process of Children's Social Care.
In cases where agreement to an early help assessment cannot be obtained, practitioners should consider how the needs of the child might be met. However, practitioners should still inform individuals that their data will be recorded and shared and the purpose explained to them.
For the local Early Help Plan procedures for each area, please go to:
Supporting Families: Early Help System guide
This guidance is for local partnerships building and delivering the local early help system of support for families.