Early Help: What Does It Mean For Me And My Family
Every family can go through challenging times at some point. Early help means working with you and your family so that small problems don't become big problems.
There are lots of reasons why people look for early help. It could be that you're worried about your child's health, development or behaviour, or how they are doing at school, or perhaps because you are caring for a disabled child.
It may be that you are worried about money or housing and how that is affecting your family.
Maybe your child or your family is affected by domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol or crime.
Perhaps your child is a carer for other people, or maybe you have had a bereavement in the family thats made life a real challenge.
Early help can give you the tools to solve any challenges or problems you are experiencing with help from others where needed.
Early help is for everybody, for families with children and young people of any age, it's your choice whether to have it or not. If you feel you and your family might need support to solve some problems, you can ask any professional about early help. This might be a teacher at your child's school, your GP, your health visitor, nursery practitioner or your housing support worker. If you find this difficult you can always contact your local family centre to ask for advice. Family Centre's work with you to find someone for you to talk to.
What will happen when I ask for early help?
The professional will talk with you about the problems you are going through. They will ask what help and suport you think you might need. This is called an early help assessment (EHA).
Early help assessment is nothing to be worried about. It's just a conversation to work out how to help you stop small problems turing into big problems. You can talk about things that are going well and things that you are proud of as well as things that you're finding a challenge.
The person will also talk with your child or your children in your family to make sure they understand how they are feeling and anything they might want some help with.
Together you'll agree what to write down so there is a record of what you talked about.
What happens next will be different for every family. You might make a plan with the person you spoke with to sort out the problems. You might want to meet with other poeple who might be able to help. This is called a team around the family (TAF) meeting. Or you might want to get a service (like family support) to give you the help you feel you need.
You can say what you think will help you and your family.Remember. it's your choice to have early help. Early Help is here to help you and your family stop small problems turning into big problems - and hopefully no problems at all.
Early help helps
To hear how some Barnsley families have benefitted from Early help watch our short film by visting www.barnsley.gov.uk/ealryhelphelps
How can I get Early Help?
For more information pop along to your nearest Family Centre .To find out where your nearest Family Centre is or for more information about Early Help contact Families Information Service or click on the 'Useful Downloads' on the right side of this record to download the leafelts ; Early help A Guide for Parents and Carers and Your Local Family Centre
Sharing information to help you
If you decide you'd like to access early help, the person you talked with will ask if they can share details of your conversation. This is to make sure the people who will be supporting you are able to do a good job for you and understand the journey you and your family have been on. You need to be happy with this and give your permission.
There may be times when the person you talked to has to share information without your permission. This will be:
- If they think a child is at risk of harm
- If they think and adult is at risk of harm
- If they think the information could help prevent or detect a serious crime
Social care won't get involved unless the circumstances in your family change and become more serious.
Who to contact
Families Information Service on 0800 0345 340
Email : infoFIS@barnsley.gov.uk