Skip to main content

Early Help

Find out about extra support for families in Westminster.

Published on: 27 April 2022

Last updated: 24 November 2022

Information for professionals

Criteria for referral to Westminster’s Targeted Early Help Service 

Referrals will be accepted by our Targeted Early Help Service where there is evidence that work has been undertaken to enable the family to make changes over a period of time with multi-agency support. but has either resulted in no change or the negative impact on the children has increased over time. 

Early Help will work with families where it is clear that without a the service those families would become the subject of a statutory intervention. 

Early Help priorities 

Children not attending school regularly.

Children with more than 10% unauthorised absence over the last term and where the school actions are not having an impact. The absence must be related to parenting capacity rather than ill health or a conduct disorder.

By parenting capacity we mean a parents ability to meet their child’s health and developmental needs and being able to acknowledge problems and engage with support services to effect change.

Factors that may prevent a parent/s engaging with support are mental health issues, substance misuse, domestic violence and those with poor experience of being parented themselves. 

  • A child with a fixed term exclusion of at least 10 days in primary school or year 7 that is a direct result of parenting incapacity.  
  • Three fixed term exclusions in primary school or year 7, which is a direct result of parenting incapacity. 
  • A child who is permanently excluded and not known to other teams in family services. 

Prevention of children and young people committing offences

A child who has committed a proven offence – low level and a first offence - that meets the requirements for triage. 

Parenting capacity manifesting itself in significant behavioural issues 

Children where the impact of the parent’s mental health, domestic abuse or substance misuse issues on their behaviour and well-being will escalate the family into safeguarding or care entry without further intervention. 

A younger child, where an older sibling has been convicted of serious youth violence or supplying drugs offences or is a known gang nominal. 

Other children who need help 

Children who are repeatedly (two assessments in one year) assessed under section 17 or 47 but do not subsequently require a child in need or child protection plan. 

A child who we have identified as a young carer following referral, and whose needs cannot be met through existing provision. 

How to make a referral

Professionals should use the Multi-Agency Assessment and Referral Form (MARF) to make a referral to Family Services. This includes either social care that is not an emergency, or targeted early help. 

If you are using this form for the first time you will need to create an account. This document provides guidance on how to set up an account and complete the MARF:

When should I complete a MARF?

  • If you are worried about a behaviour, incident or information you have received
  • If you require more information to help you plan next steps to address an issue
  • If the child, young person or family needs cannot be met by a single agency
  • If a parent expresses concerns

Undertaking a MARF Assessment will help you to:

  • identify needs and explore any concerns
  • address emerging multiple needs
  • promote early help services where additional needs are identified
  • create packages of tailored support
  • coordinate support and involvement through a named Lead Professional
  • share information effectively and appropriately
  • reduce the number of times a family needs to tell their story

London Safeguarding Children Procedures

When dealing with any referral to the service we adhere to the London Safeguarding Children Procedures.

Further information can also be found on the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership for Kensington and Westminster.

Early Help Strategy

Early Help Strategy
Early Help Strategy PDF, 2.94 MB, 28 pages