About the Early Help service
We provide help and support to children, young people and their families from before birth up to the age of 19.
All families face challenges and sometimes need support. Early Help is about providing this support as soon as possible to tackle difficulties for children, young people and families before they become more serious. We work with the whole family and the child is at the centre of everything we do.
There are a number of different teams within the Early Help Service. They are:
- Targeted Early Help - families are allocated a Family Practitioner who works closely with them on a regular basis
- Intensive Support Team - families are allocated an Intensive Support Family Practitioner who can work very intensively with them if there are high support needs
- School Inclusion Team - work with children who are at risk of exclusion from education
- Parenting - work with Parents who need extra support and provide courses and training on Parenting
- Youth Offending Team - work with young offenders
- Family Hubs
Worried about a child?
If you are worried that a child or young person might need help or is being neglected or hurt, it is important that you share your worries.
If you are worried that someone is in immediate danger please call 999.
If you have concerns about the safety of a child you should get in contact straight away on the below numbers:
- Access to Children's Services team 020 7641 4000 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or Emergency Duty Team 020 7641 2388 (outside of these times).
The Access team provides a single point of contact for professionals and members of the public who want to seek support or raise concerns about a child. We will listen, assess your concerns, and can take action if a child is at risk.
If you're not sure whether a child is at risk you can discuss the circumstances with us or with someone else who works with children, such as a teacher, health visitor or the NSPCC.
All professionals who work with children have a responsibility to safeguard them and will know how to help.
Some activities you can book on to in advance or just turn up. These are what we call ‘Universal’ services which are available to everyone. They include:
- family hub activities, like stay & play
- youth activities such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award
- information and advice drop-ins
- help finding childcare
You can visit our online directory where you will find contact details of a wide range of agencies who offer information, advice and support.
We use the term 'Early Help' to refer to extra support your family may need beyond the usual services available to everyone. By finding out what is working well for you and what areas you may be worried about we can help to build on your strengths and identify areas where further support might be needed. We make sure families have access to this support at the earliest possible stage.
Many organisations across Westminster work together to make it as easy as possible for you to get the right support, at the right time. These include:
- Children’s Services
- Health Visiting
- School Health
- Maternity services
- Early Years
Targeted Early Help
If you have a range of needs, it is likely that you may need support from several different agencies. If this is the case you may be allocated a worker from our Targeted Early Help team who can work with you as a Lead Professional and help to co-ordinate the other support you need.
How to access our service
Our service is for families with children up to the age of 19 who are resident in the borough. You can access the service in several ways:
- Via your local Family Hub - If you feel you need some extra support or would like more information about the Early Help service you can speak to a member of the family hub team who will help work out the best service to support you.
- Via another professional - you can ask a professional you are already working with to make a referral, such as your: teacher, health visitor, youth worker, GP.
- Alternatively you can refer yourself or a child by contacting our Access Team on 020 7641 4000 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or the Emergency Duty Team 020 7641 2388 (outside of these times).
What happens next?
We will need to talk to you and your family to find out what your needs are and what we can offer you and agree a way forward.
You may be referred to a community or voluntary agency, or might be offered support through our Family Hub or via our Targeted Early Help service.
The leaflet below has more information about how the Targeted Early Help service can support you and your family if you are referred to them: