Early Help

early help a helping hand for the whole family services working together to support the family when it's needed

Early Help is:

Services working together for children, young people and their families, who would benefit from extra support:

  • Keeping children, young people and their families safe from harm
  • Helping children, young people and their families to overcome difficulties
  • Supporting children, young people and their families to and be happy
  • Making sure families can support themselves


Universal, Children and young people, including those with additional needs, whose needs are met by family, community and universally provided services. Early Help, Children and young people who would benefit from working together. Child in need, social care or specialist services under s17 of the children's act Children with disabilities. Child protection, intensive support, s47 children's act

The diagram above shows the four levels of need. As you can see, Early Help is the second level where families can get extra support. Early Help doesn't usually involve children's social care.

You may ask for Early Help if you are worried about your child’s health, development or behaviour. You may be caring for a child with a disability and need extra support.

Or if you are a young person, you can ask for help to manage situations that affect your life such as having caring responsibilities, concerns for either your own or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, emotional wellbeing or any other health or social difficulty. Whatever the concern, it’s okay to ask for help.

In St Helens we will STEP UP and work together to provide Early Help, so that children, young people and families are safe, healthy and are supported to grow and be happy.

S – Stopping Stigma and building strengths
T – Working Together
E – Assessing Early and supporting the journey
P – Developing Professionals
U – Valuing Uniqueness
P – Promoting Positive outcomes

Somebody you are already working with, for example a health visitor, school nurse, youth worker, teacher or GP, will sit with you to gather information about your family and any other services that might already be supporting you.

With your consent (permission), they will contact the other services to find out what support they are already offering you. The person working with you may suggest having a meeting together with the services who are already supporting you. Together, you will agree what is needed to help you and your child/children to get back on your feet and on with your life together.

You will also agree who will take the role of lead professional. The lead professional is usually somebody who is already working with you and knows the type of support that would benefit you and your family. They will make sure everyone is doing what is needed to support you. You can also talk to them about any issues or concerns you may have.

You do not have to accept Early Help, but if you do not this may raise concerns. The services are there to support you and your family and to prevent things from getting worse.

Talk to someone who is already working with you and your family. This could be your child’s school, nursery, health visitor or any other worker that you are in contact with. If you are a young person this could be your teacher, youth worker, school nurse or a trusted adult.

Ask the person who is working with you for the contact details of where you can get help.


The purpose of the Local Offer is to enable parents and young people to see more clearly what services are available for children with special educational needs and disabilities in their area, and how to access them.

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boy in a wheel chair