This document aims to bring together all the key components of the current Essex Early Help Offer and its purpose is to provide a cohesive picture of that offer for those organisations and professionals who support vulnerable children, young people and families. Early Help is the identification of, and response to, emerging problems for children, young people and their families. It is a way of working that supports families, children and young people to overcome difficulties and build their resilience, so that problems do not escalate and they are able to thrive and live and engage happily in their communities.
The Essex Early Help Offer builds from the considerable research of leading individuals such as Frank Field (2010), Graham Allen (2011), and Professor Eileen Munro (2011) who have led our collective understanding of Early Help and how the long term prospects of children and young people receiving Early Help at the right time will significantly improve.
In Essex our knowledge and understanding is deepened by the ethnographic approach we take to understand the world families live in from their own experiences. This is reflected in the importance we are placing on developing an effective system leadership vision which places the family and communities at the centre, recognising their strengths are the biggest asset and that if support is needed, it is co-produced with families and communities themselves. When support is necessary it will be enabled by valued and highly qualified, confident front line staff who play a critical role in the early identification of families needing Early Help.
This document is one of a suite of documents that support the delivery of our Essex Children and Young People’s Strategic Plan and it articulates the Essex Early Help Offer for children, young people and their families living in our county.
Most people’s needs are usually best supported by those who already work with them for example, children’s centres, schools and GPs but sometimes they may need a little bit of extra support when a difficulty occurs.
If you are working with a child, young person or family needing some extra help, you can refer them to the Family Innovation Fund (FIF) Early Help services, commissioned by Essex County Council to respond to low level needs of children, young people and their parents/carers. Parents/carers and young people over 13 years can also refer themselves.
The only people not eligible for FIF are those already in receipt of specialist services, for example, the Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS), Family Solutions or Social Care.
If you are concerned that a child or young person is being harmed or neglected or is at risk of this you should contact the Children and Families Hub. If possible, be clear about the service you require when ringing.
Telephone: 0345 603 7627
Out of hours: (5.30pm - 9.00am Monday - Thursday, 4.30pm-9.00am - Friday and Bank holidays) Telephone: 0345 606 1212 Email: Emergency.DutyTeamOutOfHours@essex.gov.uk
If there is an immediate risk of harm to a child then contact the Police on 999