Early Help Assessment frequently asked questions

How does the Early Help Assessment (EHA) dovetail with other assessments?

Specialist assessments such as the Initial and Core Assessment (social care), ASSETT (YOT), Mental and Emotional Health Assessment (CAMHS) require a level of detail not present in EHA but they will be informed by the information in the EHA and therefore there will be reduced duplication.

How do I involve children/ young people in the EHA process?

Small children should be involved through observation and play in order to have basic discussions. Children over 10 should know they have a EHA, who their Lead Professional is and attend the Team Around the Family (TAF) Meetings or share their views prior to the meeting.

At what age can a young person consent to an EHA independent of their parent

This is covered in the EHA & Information Sharing Training and refers to the ‘Fraser Competency’ of the young person. A Fraser Competent young person can agree to a EHA, and if they insist that they do not want their parents/carers to be involved in the EHA process, this can still go ahead however practitioners should highlighted how a better outcome might be achieved in partnership with parents.

What is the difference between EHA and Team Around the Family (TAF)?

EHA stands for Early Help Assessment it is the name of the form that is completed with families. TAF stands for Team Around the Family and is the name of the meetings that are held as part of the process.

How does EHA work?

A worker will ask you and your child some questions to find out what help and support they might need. This information is recorded on a simple form.
You and your child will agree what is put on the form, and you will be given a copy of it. Older children may feel able to discuss their situation on their own with the worker. A young person’s wish to keep information confidential from parents may be respected by the worker, where this is in the young person’s best interests and welfare.

Is it a bit excessive to complete an EHA or low level need with only two or more agencies involved?

No. The ability to intervene early makes a difference to outcomes, but this is hampered when the first 2/3 services involved don’t share information, and EHA provides a way to do this. If a basic assessment (EHA) is not completed, then assumptions can be made about what is going on, and there is a missed opportunity to build on strengths.

Who calls the Team for the Family (TAF) meetings, chairs the meeting and writes the action plan?

The Lead Professional is responsible for calling the TAF meetings. Subsequent TAF meetings should be arranged at the previous TAFs to save administration time. The chair of the meeting and writing of the action plan should be agreed and shared among members.

Can a closed EHA be re opened?

No, you will need to phone through and refer to the Children's reception team on 03003000901.

If there are Child Protection concerns should I complete an EHA?

No. If at any time during this process you suspect or find that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer from significant harm, STOP and contact The Children's referral team on 03003000901. If you feel a child is in immediate danger then you should call the police on 999.

What additional services does an EHA allow me to access?

EHA is primarily about coordinating services however when a EHA is in place referrals can be made to Barnardos for parenting support.

How will an EHA help my family?

The EHA exists to help you support your child. It can lead to a quick solution or help to identify extra support if needed. The EHA will ensure that everyone involved with your child – such as teachers and health visitors – work together to support them. The EHA will help your child receive the right support at an early stage before their needs increase. As the EHA is a shared assessment, you and your child will not have to repeat the same story to different workers.

What is a lead professional and how are they identified?

If a number of people are providing support to your child, one of these people will be appointed as a ‘lead professional’. This person will coordinate all the services working with you, tell you what is happening and listen to your views. If a Lead Professional is not identified at the point of Early Help Assessment (EHA) completion it should be discussed at the first Team Around the Family (TAF) Meeting convened by EHA completer. The family /child/young person should be involved in the decision making process.

Where can I get the EHA paperwork from?

You can find all the paperwork required in the 'Key documents and Templates' Page under the 'About' Tab.

What happens if in the course of completing the EHA I discover a child is privately fostered?

Please phone the central referral team on 03003000901

What is an EHA number?

Every child / young person that has an EHA on the Isle of Wight has an EHA number .Please clearly display the EHA number on all EHA paperwork. Please also use this number when contacting us about a family via email and on any correspondence.

What if a child/young person is allocated to social care during an EHA episode?

If a case is stepped up whilst the family has an open Early Help Assessment, then the TAF meetings will continue whilst the social worker undertakes a 'Child and Family Assessment'. If it is felt the child requires a 'Child in Need' a 'Child Protection Plan' or the child is placed in to care, the Early Help Assessment will close. The social worker may decide, however that the child's needs can continue to be met at Early Help and will Step the child back down.

What does EDD mean on the EHA form?

Expected Delivery Date – for an unborn child.

Why does the family/young person need a copy of the EHA?

The family/young person must be involved with the process and they have a right to have their own copy of their assessment.

Do I have to fill in every box on the EHA form?

Yes. The Early Help Assessment should include as much information possible. If a box is not relevant , please indicate this by writing 'N/A' next to the question.

How can I share information for an EHA securely?

All Early Help related information can be sent to earlyhelp@iow.gov.uk .You should Password protect and/or winzip any confidential and sensitive information.

What is the process for changing lead professionals?

If a new lead professional is identified this should be clearly documented on the Early Help Action Plan and the Early Help Coordinator must be informed.

What if a young person needs an EHA but no one is available to complete this?

This will need to be fed back to the Central referral team who will make a decision as to how to move forward.

When is an EHA used?

The needs of most children will be met by professionals with whom they are already in contact. However, a teacher, a health visitor or a worker from another service might be concerned that a child has additional needs that are not being met. This professional will be the one to talk to you about an Early Help assessment.
You will need to think about whether this is the right action for your child. An Early Help Assessment will only be done where you and your son/daughter give permission (consent). You will also be asked about sharing information with other professionals, either as part of the assessment process or when the assessment is complete.

Is there an EHA budget?

Currently there is not an EHA budget.

Why do I have to send all EHA paperwork to the EH Coordinators?

So that we can record and track the EHA process.

Please send all completed Early Help Assessments, Early Help Action Plans and Distance Travelled Tools by post or email (earlyhelp@iow.gov.uk) as soon as completed. Please be aware that when emailing ensure that a secure data encryption method is used when sending personal information.

Why do I have to contact the Children's Reception team before completing an EHA?

So that you can know if someone else has completed an EHA. Several services might begin to have concerns at the same time and it is important that the family are offered the right level of support.

How do I contribute if an EHA has already been started by someone else?

We will put you in touch with the EHA Completer or Lead Professional and encourage you to attend the Team Around the Family (TAF) Meetings.

How does EHA link to adult services?

The Early Help Process aims to support the whole family. Anyone working with the family should be encouraged and invited to attend the TAF meeting (with parents consent).

In families where more than one sibling needs EHA, does the lead professional have to be the same?

No, the Lead Professional has to be the right person to respond to particular needs and strengths of the individual child/ young person.
The Lead Professionals need to work closely together and produce one Early Help Action Plan for the family.

What does ‘Step Up / Step Down’ mean in relation to Social Care and EHA?

If there are any safeguarding concerns regarding a child open to Early Help, that are being assessed by a social worker this will mean that the child has 'stepped up' to Children's social care. If the social worker decided that a child's needs can continue to be met at Early help, they will 'step down' the child.

What is an EHA?

The Early Help Assessment (EHA) is a way of working with children and families. It involves listening to families to find out their needs and what is working well in their life. An action plan, is put in place to make sure the child/children gets the right sort of help.

What are the timeframes for the EHA?

The first Team Around the Family Meeting should be held within one month of the EHA being completed then TAF Meetings should be held no more than three months apart, but this will depend on the complexity of need which might dictate a greater frequency.

How do I close an EHA?

If the Team Around the Family (TAF) members and the family agree that there are no further needs to be met you will be asked to complete a closure record. If consent is withdrawn at any time the EHA process stops.

How do I receive updated EHA procedure information after I've completed my initial training?

If you require specific support/ training please speak with your EH Coordinator who will support you in accessing this. If you would like regular updates on services available for children and families, please ask your EH Coordinator to add you to their mailing list.

What happens if an EHA highlights competing needs of a teenage parent and unborn child?

In this situation you need an EHA for both so that they can be supported in their own right. The two lead professionals will need to work closely together and Team Around the Family (TAF) action plans will need to be complimentary but separate.

How will parental objections regarding an EHA be managed?

In this situation you need an EHA for both so that they can be supported in their own right. The two lead professionals will need to work closely together and Team Around the Family (TAF) action plans will need to be complimentary but separate.