The Early Help Service works in partnership with other professionals, parents and carers to intervene early in a child's life to ensure that children have the best start in life. The aim is to address problems at the earliest opportunity - before they can escalate - and to enable families to support their children to reach their full potential.
Early intervention may occur at any point in a child or young person's life. Early Help supports families with children and young people aged 0 to 18 and up to 25 with a disability.
It’s vital that all practitioners develop a good understanding of how to use their professional skills to identify and assess the needs and strengths of children and families, and how agencies can work together to ensure that the right children get the right action at the right time.
A guide to thresholds and practice for working with children and families in Waltham Forest will provide a foundation of knowledge for all practitioners, but it’s is the quality conversations that will build relationships and make a difference to children’s outcomes. These are conversations between practitioners and families, practitioners and their line managers, designated safeguarding leads, Early Help coordinators or with the MASH when they have concerns about specific children.
Across Waltham Forest The Early Help Assessment is called Our Family Journey. The Our Family Journey tool is used to identify the early help offer that a family requires to prevent needs from escalating to a point where intervention would be necessary via a statutory assessment under the Children Act 1989. The Our Family Journey Tool is designed to be used by all partners to guide integrated working to provide early help, for example through the Team Around the Family (TAF) approach.
Our Guidance Document provides an overview of the layered approach to the Waltham Forest Our Family Journey Tool and to support practitioners in completing accurate and thorough records of a family’s situation.
Requests for help and support must be made via this form and all relevant sections MUST be completed in order to support a good referral.
You can make a 'Request for Help and Support' if you think a child or family has additional emerging, complex or acute needs which require a multi-agency intervention; for example, persistent truanting, chronic / recurring health problems, or behaviour is harmful to self and others. Before making this request you should gain consent of the child / young person or family concerned.
Some children and young people will need help from more than one agency. Where this is the case, the team will appoint a lead professional to coordinate the services provided.
The lead professional:
Lead TAF professionals should use our TAF meeting guidance
The toolkit has been designed to support practitioners to capture the voice of the child during the CAF process. It has been divided into two parts, with one part consisting of guidance and frameworks for working with children and young people. Part two contains a number of key resources designed to enable professionals to work in a child-centred way in capturing the voice of the child.
The toolkit has been seperated into key age groups:
The early help service offers a variety of training to professionals including:
Any further queries regarding Early Help training please email Earlyhelp@walthamforest.gov.uk.
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