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Early Help for Families with SEND

In this section you can learn about Early Help and how it supports families with children or young people with SEND.

If you are a parent of a child with SEND then Early Help can give you support to reduce the chance of your child needing higher levels of help in the future. 

Early Help is also the gateway to other services such as ASDAT (Autism Spectrum Assessment Team) and CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services)

It is entirely led by you, no decisions or actions will be made without your agreement and you are free to stop using Early Help whenever you want.

What does Early Help do?

An Early Help Assessment is a gateway to support for children and young people with SEND who are under 25 years old, whose needs are not covered by universal services. 

(Universal services are those that anyone can use eg. Drs, schools or colleges, family centre groups and youth groups) 

Families with a SEND child are guaranteed an Early Help Assessment.

If your child or young person needs targeted support, you can get one-to-one help through a family support, education or health worker and a wide range of other services.

To watch a video of Barnsley peoples experiences with Early Help click here.

What do I need to do?

The best way to get help is to talk a professional who knows you:

  • SENCO or Teacher at your child's school
  • Childminder, Nursery Practitioner or 'Key Person' 
  • GP
  • Family Support Worker
  • School Nurse or
  • Health Visitor.

If you are the parent of a SEND child then you might already be familiar with some professionals. Talk to whoever you feel most comfortable with.

They can fill out a form with you and do an Early Help Assessment, it's just a chat to work out what level of support you need.

Early Help can then give support either through universal services or targeted support, if your child or young person has greater needs.

You can also fill out the form yourself, follow these steps:

1. Fill in a "Request for Early Help" form that you can get in the downloads box to the right of this page (bottom on mobiles) or collect a copy from your local Family Centre.

2. Email the completed form to – or take it to a Family Centre.

What happens next?

Your form will be looked at by the weekly Early Help Panel. 

They may suggest groups in our Family Centres, Educational Support, Parenting Programmes or 1:1 with a Family Support Worker.

You will usually be told of the outcome the same day.

 If you have been allocated a Family Support Worker they will aim to contact you within a week.

This may be to organise a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting. 

What is a TAF (Team around the Family) meeting?

A TAF, or "Team Around the Family" meeting is just a discussion with your and the appropriate professionals.

You will work together to decide what support you and your child needs and how to put that into place.

Don’t worry, no decisions will be made unless you agree.


  • I’m worried about my child’s progress and behaviour at school, will an EHA help me?

Having an assessment may help you get support from school & other services to help with parenting and your child’s behavioural issues.


  • Will Having an EHA mean I need a social worker?

No, having an EHA is entirely up to you. It’s just a friendly conversation to work out where you might need a little extra help and how to put that in place. You can stop using Early Help whenever you want and no decisions or actions will be made without you.


  • What’s the best way to get an EHA?

Talk to a professional who knows you & your family and who you feel most comfortable with. They’ll be in the best position to know what help you may need and can offer personal advice.


  • I need support but will people think I’m a bad parent?

We completely understand that raising a child or young person with SEND can be challenging at times, many families with a SEND child need a little extra support from time to time. There is absolutely no judgement in this and we just want to help you and your child to have the best life possible.


  • Is it better to get help with the form or do it myself?

There is no problem with filling the form out yourself, however doing it with an appropriate professional who knows your child can make the process smoother.

Further Information

For more detailed information on what Early Help offers, how it can support you and how to apply please click here to be taken to the Early Help Page.

For Professionals

If you are a professional looking for further information, training or the Early Help Toolkit please follow the below link. 

Early Help Toolkit for Practitioners

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