Early help is the support we give to children, young people and their families where they have additional needs that aren't being met by universal services (services that are available to everyone, like health and education).
When a family has additional needs, we make sure they have access to the support they need at the earliest possible stage to prevent their needs becoming so great that they require a higher level of more specialist support further down the line.
What is Early Help, Early Years and Early Support?
You may have come across the three terms Early Help, Early Years and Early Support. So what do they mean? What is the difference? Below we have tried to describe each term.
The term Early Help is used to describe the process of taking action early and as soon as possible to tackle problems and issues emerging for children, young people and their families. Effective help may be needed for at any point in a child or young person’s life.
Early years refers to children from birth to the age of five. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to five years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.
Early Support in Peterborough is a pathway for children in their pre-school years with complex health, education, or care needs. These children will require considerable ongoing support from across education, health and care. This includes:
- children who have great difficulty with communication
- children who have sensory or physical difficulties
- children who have complex health needs
Support available for you
The Early Help in Peterborough leaflet provides lots of information to help you find out about the support available for you and your family and how to get the help you need.
View the Early Help in Peterborough leaflet in a number of other languages:
Early Help Assessments
If you are worried that you are not coping, or need some extra support, you can speak to a trusted professional. This might be a Learning Mentor, Student Support Officer or Family Worker at your child’s school or setting. Or it might be a Housing Officer or someone from the Health service.
Early Help is how we use all the resources available including family support, community support, the voluntary sector and public organisations to provide timely and effective support to you as a family. The Early Help assessment records your needs, what is going well, what is not going so well and what is causing you concern or worry.
The Early Help assessment can be carried out with you by a trusted professional.
Our Early Help offer has three levels:
- Community support
- More support
- Targeted support
Community support is:
- Opportunities for families to socialise with and learn from each other
- Drop in sessions for advice and support
- Positive activities and local networks
- Signposting and information
More support is:
- A trusted professional who already knows you and helps you recognise your challenges and make a plan to address them
- Accessing more specialist support and advice if needed
- Regular check-in sessions to see how things are progressing
- Parenting courses and learning programmes (find out more on our Parenting Offer Fact Sheet)
Targeted support is:
- A programme of individual support for families or young people, delivered in your home or on-line
- Led by a dedicated Early Help or other specialist practitioner
- Focused on problem-solving and creating the conditions for positive change
- Drawing in specialist services where required
Peterborough City Council has worked with a wide range of partners to develop a new Early Help Strategy called Strong Families, Strong Communities. This strategy sets out a partnership vision and action plan for Early Help for the next five years.
Helping families understand and manage their children's behaviours
In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Webster Stratton (The Incredible Years) and a range of Triple P parenting programmes are available to help families better understand and manage their children's behaviours. These programmes are free to parents and are endorsed by our paediatricians and neurodevelopmental service.
You can find out more on our Parenting Offer fact sheet.
To assist parents in understanding and responding to their child’s behaviours, Peterborough has introduced the opportunity for parents to engage in Evidenced Based Parenting Programmes. Engagement with the programmes should enable parents/carers, children and young people to learn new skills and gain confidence in their abilities to help manage potentially challenging situations in the home environment.
In the first instance, families are encouraged to speak to their school, early years setting, children’s centre or health worker to ask about how to access one of these programmes.
Experiencing emotional health and well being issues
Children and young people may experience a range of emotional health and well being issues including low self-esteem, low confidence, self harming and eating disorders. There is a wide range of support available from a range of partners including:
- School nursing
- Emotional health and Well Being Service
- Kooth on-line counselling support (secondary age only)
- Targeted Youth Support Service (TYSS)
- Centre 33 as well as the
- ‘Keep your Head’ website
Also view our Mental Health (Local Offer) web page.
What is the Neurodevelopmental Pathway ASD/ADHD?
The pathway is to provide initial support for parents of children and young people with presumed ASD/ADHD, it is designed to support parents/carers through the assessment process.
The Peterborough Neurodevelopmental Service CPFT is an integrated multi-agency service for school-age children and young people with diagnosed or presumed neurodevelopmental issues
The service includes consultant psychiatrists, consultant paediatricians, a clinical nurse special clinical psychologists, nurses, child and family workers and a specialist practitioner all of whom have specialist knowledge and skills in children and young people’s neurodevelopmental needs. This service can help school age children and young people, their families and professionals involved with them through consultation, assessment, diagnosis, interventions, monitoring, review and training. The pathway is designed to ensure that children, young people and families who need a specialist assessment and associated support receive it, in a timely manner.
The aim of the Neurodevelopmental pathway
The aim of the Pathway is
To ensure that sufficient information is gathered and provided to support any further assessment/diagnostic process and to ensure that the children and young people most in need are referred.
To provide families with early help and peer support opportunities by providing them with appropriate strategies to help manage children and young people's presenting behaviours via a range of paediatric endorsed evidence-based programmes to suit their individual needs.
Accessing services available to all children and young people
Disabled children and young people should be able to access services available to all children and young people. Not all children and young people with additional needs will require a specialist service or intervention.
Some children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities may also be able access specialist services through a social care assessment.
Social care assessments are the process by which information about children young people and families is gathered, so that decisions can be made about what support and interventions families may need and be entitled to.
Find out more on our 0-25 Disability Social Care page.
Opportunities for disabled children to spend time away from parents and carers
Short Breaks provide opportunities for disabled children to spend time away from parents and carers within quality services. Short breaks also provide parents and carers with breaks from their caring responsibilities and facilitate quality of life by enabling families to access places and activities together.
Short breaks are defined as:
- Day time support in the child's home environment or elsewhere.
- Overnight care and support in child's home environment or elsewhere.
- Educational or leisure activities for disabled children outside their homes.
More information can be found Short Breaks page.
Considering your needs
The Children and Families Act 2014 gives parent carers and young carers, a right to assessment and to have their needs considered.
Further information can be found on the Support and Advice for Parent Carers and Carers page.
Homes not Hospitals
homes not hospitals care is all about improving health and care services so that more people can live in the community, with the right support, and close to home.
Homes not hospitals care will mean that fewer people will need to go into hospital for their care. This means that we can close hundreds of hospital beds across England. To do this we are making sure that services in the community are much better. You can find out more on our Homes not Hospitals page.
Social Care Occupational Therapists
If you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person with a physical or learning disability, then occupational therapy in the community can help you.
Occupational therapy staff can give you advice and information on activities of daily living, moving and handling issues, seating at home, housing needs and provide assistive equipment and adaptations to overcome some of the challenges you may experience.
Please download, complete and return the Children's Occupational Therapy Referral Form to the address provided on the application form for an occupational therapy assessment of your child's needs, which will be reviewed. Please note. As this is a word form it doesn't open up on your screen like a pdf. Instead it downloads to your computer or phones download folder).