Support and Advice for Families

Early Help

Baby on a play mat

Early help is provided to children, young people and families who are struggling, in need of additional support and at a higher than average risk of experiencing problems. Early help services aim to prevent or resolve issues before they become more serious and require specialist support.

The Isle of Wight Children and Young People’s Strategic partnership recognises that the best outcomes are achieved when a combination of services work together to ensure that the whole family are able to work towards better life chances of their children.

Why we have early help services and who they are available to.

One source of local data is the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) that is carried out every year in partnership with health services. This tells us about the current needs of children, young people and families on the island and anticipates future need. It identifies groups whose needs are not being met and who are experiencing poor outcomes. This information helps us to decide how to deliver our services.

Concerns about how well a child or young person is progressing may be raised by a professional, parent/carer or the child/young person themselves. An Early Help Assessment (EHA) is then used to identify their needs. EHA is a standardised shared assessment and planning framework for use across all children’s services and all local areas in England. At the centre of the development of the EHA is the principle that it is child/young person centred and can be shared across agencies and between professionals as appropriate; with the family/young person’s permission.

The use of EHA helps early identification of needs, leading to co-ordinated provision of services involving a lead professional and sharing information to avoid duplication of assessments. If you are a professional and would like to gain a better understanding of an EHA view the Early Help Information Sheet.

Access to early help services

Many of these services are available in the community, through schools, health services and voluntary organisations. You can look at the links in this section of the website to find out contact details of the organisations. Barnardo's are the current provider of integrated early help services for 0-19 years on the island. 

Access to Strengthening Families Programme

Strengthening Families Programme (SFP) is the Isle of Wight’s response to the national 'Troubled Families' initiative. It is a key part of the Early Help offer of services designed to reduce or prevent specific problems from getting worse. The programme covers the whole Island and the intensive support is delivered by the charity Barnardo’s. It focuses on families who are currently experiencing complex difficulties. View more information about the Strengthening Families Programme.

If you are concerned about a child or you need information about children’s services, please get in touch by using the 'Contacts' tab above.