Early help is all about providing help to families who, for whatever reason, find that they’re struggling. Providing help as soon a problem emerges, at any stage of a child or young person’s life, stops that problem escalating and is much more effective than reacting to it later on.
Early help applies to the period from before a baby is born right up to age 25, and that help could be related to any aspect of life. That help might take the form of simply sign-posting to information and advice. Or, it might mean organising some more practical help, whether that’s parenting support, help with benefits or housing.
There are all sorts of organisations and agencies involved in early help, including the County Council, district councils, health, police and schools.
It works best when all those organisations are working together with families. The first step is often when a professional identifies a young person who may benefit from some support. But more and more we want to encourage families to approach professions themselves when they think there’s a need, whether that’s teacher, a GP or a youth worker.
Please note: Early Help is Somerset’s County Council’s local offer (previously the Family Intervention Service)