1.4 Early Help Assessment & Plan
In Norfolk, our approach to prevention and early help is not about the delivery of a single specific service. It is about all services and partners working together with children, young people and their families to prevent needs from emerging, and when they do to provide earlier support.
This means that everyone working with children, young people and families in Norfolk has a responsibility to support the delivery of effective prevention and early help. The Children Act (2004) & Working Together Statutory Guidance sets out the collective responsibilities we have in regard to prevention and early help, through the placing of duties on police, health and local authorities to work together with other partners, to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in their area.
Our approach to prevention and early help in Norfolk aims to promote good long-term outcomes for families and prevent the need for more intensive and costly interventions. We often use the terms ‘prevention’ and ‘early help’ interchangeably and whilst they are obviously linked, it is helpful to define what we mean by these terms:
Prevention is about taking action to reduce the chances of something happening or to stop something already happening getting worse. We see this as a way of working that spans a whole range of needs.
Prevention is not a single act – it’s helpful to think of it as a continuum of action:
- Primary Prevention which focuses on universal activity to keep people well, such as facilities encouraging exercise, childhood vaccinations, and asset-based community development to build social networks and self-help.
- Secondary Prevention which targets those at risk of becoming unwell or needing additional support services, such as children in care health screening, youth work and promoting services for particular cohorts of people.
- Tertiary Prevention which focuses on those needing support services, helping them to limit the impact of their circumstances and reduce the need for high levels of intervention. This is when early help may be required where children, young people and families need extra support to stop any problems from getting worse. As the juncture it may be appropriate to commence an Early Help Assessment & Plan.
Early Help is about providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life. In Norfolk, we are committed to supporting children and families earlier so that we can stop any problems they are facing from getting worse and help them to find the solutions that will make their lives better in the future. We do this by working together, building on children’s and families’ strengths, and supporting them to develop their capacity to make positive changes for themselves.
Our approach to Early Help Assessment & Plans (Previously Family Support Process (FSP)) is available on the Early Help section of the NSCP website.