LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

Early Help

Northamptonshire Children's Trust has made improvements to the ways in which practitioners and professionals can access advice, guidance and support about Early Help.

Click here to view the Early Help pages of the NCT website. 

The Early Help Assessment

Since 1st June 2015, the Early Help Assessment (EHA) has been used in Northamptonshire. The EHA is a straightforward and family focussed assessment to help you and families identify what's working well and what they want to change.

  • It's less formal - promoting better and more interactive involvement of children, young people and families
  • It focuses on open questions and finding solutions
  • It has a streamlined online process for sharing documents - no longer via email.

What is 'Good' Early Help?

A definition of good early help practice has been agreed by the Early Help Partnership Board. The attached definition sets out what good practice in early help assessment, support and intervention should look like and has recommendations across a number of areas including the identification of needs; holistic assessment; outcomes-based intervention; Team Around the Family reviews and management oversight.

The definition document is for use by: Professionals and practitioners involved in delivering Early Help support and interventions; Early Help Co-ordinators when providing advice and guidance; Partners taking the lead professional role when cases are stepped down from Social Care and in addition, it will also be sent out with any MASH letters that recommend Early Help.

Read the full document of what makes 'good' Early Help.

Early Help Support Service (EHSS)

The EHSS is a team dedicated to offering information, advice, guidance and support to those working with children and families in need of early help. It includes the Early Help Coordinators you can contact the EHSS quickly by calling 0300 126 1000 then enter 12 when prompted.

Advice available from the MASH on 0300 126 7000

There's a new Early Help option on the 0300 126 7000 number for cases with an open EHA or where an EHA recommendation has been made or if you need advice from the Early Help Support Service: 

  • For Early Help advice, information and guidance select option 1 and then option 2.
  • For safeguarding concerns or child protection issues, select option 1 and then option 1.

Domestic Abuse specialist support in the MASH

These workers will:

  • Support both early help and safeguarding cases.
  • Provide high quality advocacy and support to both survivors of domestic violence and professionals and practitioners.

Early help – a guide for parents and carers

This leaflet will help families, parents and carers understand what early help is, what the early help process is like and how to get early help. It will also be useful for professionals working with families who might benefit from early help. .

Early Help Guide for parents and carers leaflet (PDF 609KB)

Step down – a guide for parents and carers

This newly designed leaflet will help families, parents and carers understand what the step down from social care process is, how it works and what to expect. It will also be useful for social workers and for lead professionals in the community who may work with families who have already stepped down from social care.

Step Down for parents and carers (PDF 1086KB)

Step down – a guide for professionals

This leaflet outlines the step down process from social care to early help process for practitioners. It explains the role of the social worker, what the social worker should expect from practitioners who will provide or coordinate any appropriate ongoing support and what will happen if parents, carers or young people do not consent to continued support.

Step Down for professionals (PDF 743KB)

Early Help terminology

Following the changes in the Early Help arrangements, we have updated the terminology that we are using to describe our teams, posts and functions: 

Old terminology: New terminology:
Early Help and Prevention Strategy Early Help Strategy
CAF or Common Assessment Framework Early Help Assessment (EHA)
CAF Help Desk Early Help Advice (call 0300 126 1000)
CAF Coordinators, Troubled Family Coordinators Early Help Coordinator
TAF Admin Early Help Support Officers
CAF Coordinator Team

1. Early Help Support Service (EHSS), this is made up of Early Help Coordinators and Early Help Support Officers.

2. MASH Early Help Team, includes EH Coordinators, social workers, senior practitioner and domestic abuse advisors.

Troubled Families/Priority Families Early Help Families
Complex Case Meeting Process Complex Case Discussion
Targeted Prevention Team Early Help and Prevention Team
Early Help for Disabled Children Team Early Help for Disabled Children Coordinators

Last updated: 02 August 2023

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