Understanding Early Help

Early Help systems available to children and their families are made up of three types of services:

  • universal services
  • community support
  • acute and targeted services.

These services combine in different ways to form a local area Early Help offer.

Universal services include:

  • school nurses
  • GP surgeries
  • health visitors
  • maternity services
  • community coordinators
  • post-16 education services
  • schools
  • nurseries
  • children’s centres
  • libraries.

Community support includes:

  • family and friends
  • local places and environments
  • online support services
  • voluntary, faith and community services
  • local members of the community and  local businesses.

Acute and targeted services include:

  • mental health services
  • speech and language services
  • Job Centre Plus
  • special educational needs services
  • community nursing
  • accident and emergency
  • departments in local hospitals
  • children’s social care
  • targeted family support services
  • alternative educational provision
  • housing and homelessness support services
  • prison and probation providers
  • alcohol and substance misuse services
  • fire and rescue services
  • youth offending and youth services
  • family court and family court advisory services.

Early Help Assessment (EHA)

There are many different services that make up the Early Help system. Sometimes, a family or professional may decide that further intervention is required and may offer or talk to you about an EHA. The assessment can lead to a quick solution or help to identify extra support. The EHA will ensure that everyone involved with your child and family work together to support you. The EHA will help your family receive the right support at an early stage before needs increase. As the EHA is a shared assessment, your family will not have to repeat the same story to different workers. Find out  more about the Early Help Assessment.

Strengthening Families Programme (SFP)

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. It's designed to reduce or prevent specific problems from getting worse.

The programme covers the whole Island and the intensive support is delivered by Barnardo’s. You can have Strengthening Families support alongside other early help support, for example, an EHA.

Referrals for SFP

Families will need a referral from a professional, such as teachers or health visitors. Families can also be referred by their local family centre. Like the EHA, participation in the SFP is voluntary. Families who get involved with the programme will be offered extra support to help you overcome the difficulties you face. Eligible families can be supported for six to 12 months.

Find out more about the Strengthening Families Programme.