Early Help and Support for Families
Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family as soon as a problem emerges. It can be required at any stage in a child’s life, from pre-birth to adolescence, and applies to any problem or need that the family can’t deal with alone.
Early Help means better outcomes for children and families. Effective Early Help will resolve problems before they become overwhelming and require high cost, reactive services. Early Help enables children to be ready for school and more likely to achieve their full potential.
Wirral has developed a multi-agency strategy for 2019-2021 to ensure that children and young people who require help are provided with the right support at the earliest opportunity to secure positive outcomes for them and their families.
Our Guide to Early Help & Prevention sets out the services and pathways that are available.
The Early Help Pathway flowchart is shown on a single sided poster.
An 7 min Briefing Early Help Offer is also available.
The latest Early Help and Prevention Annual Report is available to view here.
Early Help is everybody’s responsibility: together we will make sure that children, young people and their families are safe, happy and ready for school, work and life’s challenges.
When a family identifies that they need some help, support or guidance, professionals may want to support that family to think through what support is available to them that they can access both online and in their local community.
Capacity: The Public Service Lab have been commissioned by Wirral Council to work with Wirral families and local organisations to redesign the Early Help Delivery Model in Wirral, allowing for more innovation and improving outcomes for families across the borough. They have gathered the experiences of children and families across Wirral in order to understand what they want and need from an effective Early Help Service in the future. The Report and Executive Summary are available to download below. They are now working with communities, funders and the Local Authority to co-design and test a new model.
To help families and professionals to identify early and self-help resources, a range of directories are available via the links below:
Family Matters Newsletter – The newsletter contains a lot of up to date information about support, resources and help for families
Family Matters Facebook Page – The Facebook page also includes helpful messages and links to support
Wirral Infobank – the place where Wirral residents can find local support services, online events and up-to-date advice and information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation
Wirral CAMHS & Early Help Resource and Information Pack– details early help services available to children, young people and their families
Wirral’s Local Offer – providing information and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
My Child Can – a local authority Facebook page to promote activities for children and young people, offer and signpost to helpful advice, national campaigns and partner activities
Family Information Service – childcare advice and support
Teen Wirral– a website for young people to find information and advice, along with details of local activities
It’s Never OK – help, support and advice for victims and survivors of domestic abuse
Parenting Support – details of local parenting support services and programmes
When a professional supports a family to identify unmet needs and there is agreement that the family require a bit more help to access support services, there are two options available:
- The supporting professional can initiate an Early Help Episode by completing an Early Help Assessment (EHAT)
- The supporting professional, with the family’s consent, could make a referral to the Community Matters Early Help Team
Further details and relevant forms, along with a range of resources available to professionals when leading an EHAT / Family Plan, can be found here.
Family Matters are an early help service that supports families with children aged 0-19 years. Each individual family’s identified needs are supported by a keyworker who works alongside children, young people and their families.
There are four teams in the Family Matters service:
Pre-birth & Infant Team-They provide support for families with children aged 0-1year.
Adolescent Response Team-They provide support for families with children and young people aged 11-18 years.
Targeted Family Support Team-They provide support for families with children and young people aged 0-19 years.
Family Group Conference Team-They provide support to children, young people and their families. A Family Group Conference consists of, Private Family Time and they encourage children and young people to take part in the decisions that directly affect them.
All the teams offer bespoke support to families and their individual needs. Family Matters works with the whole family, offering support, advice and guidance, parenting support and innovative approaches to best support your family to make sustainable changes. We work closely with many different agencies to ensure that families have the most appropriate support.
Please also see the Family Matters page for families. The page contains a lot of helpful information, videos and the Family Matters Newsletters. The page can be accessed here: https://www.wirralsafeguarding.co.uk/family-matters/
Learning and Development Opportunities
For professionals supporting families in Early Help
Multi-Agency Thresholds – details the 4 levels of need against which the needs of an individual child or young person can be assessed
Networking Together – opportunities for professionals to network and share information, such as VCF Link Forum, Home School Link Worker Forum and multi-agency events
Multi-agency training – delivered by a pool of multi-agency trainers
Reducing Parental Conflict – information about the work going on in Wirral and how you can get involved in the RPC Steering Group