Early Help services

Find out what Early Help services include.

The sooner a family receives the right support, the sooner they are able to improve their situation and prevent the need for prolonged support. 

Support starts with universal services, such as the school, the health service and the police. Families needing additional support will receive the next level.

A 'whole family' approach ensures that children's needs and welfare are being met and maintained as well as those of the family. This is done by working with the family, local communities and others already supporting them. 

Early help also includes parents-to-be and very young children where:

  • their needs are not being met by routine or 'universal' services
  • they do not meet thresholds for statutory interventions.

There are four elements to early help:

  1. The Integrated Front Door (IFD, formerly MASH) aims to provide a single and consistent point of access to advice, guidance and decision-making about the right level of help needed to keep each child safe or achieve change.
  2. Early Help Hubs that ensure families passed on by the IFD are joined to the right kind of support quickly through a co-ordinated response with partners.
  3. A partnership of specialist keyworkers for families with multiple or complex needs who require coordinated multi-agency support. This aims to prevent the need for statutory social care intervention.
  4. Strong local partnerships to support families in their communities and make sure they have the capacity to deliver an early help response. 

The following information provides more detail:

Early Help team

The Early Help team (formerly known as Integrated Prevention and Earliest Help (IPEH)) works alongside our West Sussex partners, including the district and borough councils. We also call on the skills and knowledge of services who work closely with families and children, including:

  • heads and governors of schools
  • Sussex Police
  • the Probation Service
  • health and maternity services
  • voluntary organisations
  • other internal family support services, such as children’s social care and those working with specialist needs.

Dedicated Schools team

There is a dedicated schools team in each of the six family hub district areas listed below. All schools are provided with a link worker who can:

  • respond flexibly as issues emerge but will also be able to meet regularly with schools based on need and request
  • work with schools to ensure they know what support is available through early help and in the community
  • work collaboratively to help families early and connect them with the right support at the right time
  • provide, information, advice and guidance and crisis support
  • help support schools as a lead professional, with:
    • 'Team Around the Family' meetings
    • professionals’ meetings
    • short intervention with children, young people and parent/carers
    • signposting and linking to other local partners providing support
    • working alongside wider educational colleagues.

For schools that do not know who their link worker is, please email your district area team manager below.

Last updated:
17 July 2024
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