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Advice, guidance and signposting to assist schools with Early Help.

Early help is the identification of, and response to, emerging problems for children, young people and families. It is a way of working that supports all family members to overcome difficulties and build their resilience so that problems do not escalate.

In Derbyshire we all believe that every child and young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and that they are best supported to grow and achieve within their own families and their communities, and by the agencies who know the child the best.

There will always be some children, young people and families that will need our support and we are committed to ensuring we work with them to identify their own solutions, building their own strengths and assets.

In doing so we'll ensure that, where services are delivered, they will be flexible to meet children's and families' needs.

Derbyshire’s approach supports a shift of focus away from managing short-term crises and towards effective support for children and young people and their families at an earlier stage, with them at the centre of enabling environments rather than them being dependent on organised public services.

Wherever possible the needs of children, young people and families can be met by universal services, and this includes Derbyshire’s schools.

In Derbyshire we have a shared partnership vision that, if early help is needed, we will ensure we:

  • work to families' strengths - especially those of parents and carers and take the time to understand their needs fully
  • focus on preventing problems before they occur and offer flexible responsive support when and where it is required
  • build the resilience of parents, children, young people, and communities to support each other
  • work together across the whole system aligning our resources so we can best support families do what needs to be done when it needs to be done
  • base all that we do on evidence of both what is needed and of what works and be brave enough to stop things that are wrong
  • be clear and consistent about the outcome we expect, and judge what we do against them

Where needs are emerging or low level, individual services, and universal services (including schools) may be in the best position to meet these needs, take swift action and prevent those needs escalating. All agencies who identify the emerging needs of a child and their family should develop an early help assessment.

Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership has developed policies, procedures, and guidance to support all professionals to provide Early Help. This includes the Early Help Assessment and Team Around the Family processes; there is guidance for professionals to initiate this work and engage the family in developing solutions for their family.

Targeted early help with children's services

Derbyshire’s Early Help teams work in partnership with schools, health and other universal support teams who can offer information, advice, and practical support before the involvement of children's services.

The targeted early help offer from Derbyshire Children’s Services includes:

  • 0 to 5 and children's centres teams, working closely with health visitors and early years providers, support with speech and language development, healthy eating, parenting and school readiness
  • targeted early help teams for family and youth support providing parenting groups, youth groups and individual family focussed support, including parenting routines and family relationships, reducing conflict, healthy lifestyle choices and reducing risks of exploitation

They also support in circumstances where children and young people are:

  • not in education, training, or employment after the age of 16
  • at risk of exploitation into criminal activity, drug, or substance misuse, vulnerable to be groomed into sexual exploitation (including online grooming)
  • carers for other family members

Derbyshire’s targeted early help offer is available to vulnerable children and families and it is accessed through Starting Point who will look at the early help work that’s already been undertaken with the child, young person, or family. Requests will be triaged, and the locality Early Help teams will work with your school to provide the most appropriate level of support.

If your request is about an immediate child protection issue or your concern is urgent, please contact Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.

The Early Help Development Team

As part of the Early Help Review in 2019, a team was established to support partner agencies, who are predominantly schools, to develop and deliver their own early help interventions. This team is known as the Early Help Development Team (formerly the Transition Team).

Early Help Advisors within the team can support schools to undertake early help work, to deliver evidenced based interventions, undertake team around the family meetings and to capture the voice of the child. It's important to say that the Advisors don't work directly with families - we support school practitioners to work with families.

The Advisors have developed a rich programme of briefing sessions to support practitioners in schools. The briefing sessions cover areas including:

  • Children at risk of exploitation (CRE)
  • Genograms and Ecomaps
  • Early Help Assessments and Team Around the Family meetings
  • Graded Care Profile
  • Understanding Thresholds
  • Voice of the Child
  • Autism awareness
  • Understanding anxiety (jointly delivered with CAMHS)

The full programme of briefing sessions for the autumn to spring terms 2022/2023 is attached to this page.

The Early Help Development Team are also in place to support communities to develop and deliver and sustain services to support children and young people - so there is a real focus on community development. The Youth and Community Engagement workers have developed a directory of support available in communities. This is designed to help partners to connect families up with the right support without needing to refer the family on.

Within the Early Help Development Team sits the Employment and Education Team. They fulfil Derbyshire's statutory duty to monitor 16-18 year olds who are not in education, employment or training, or whose educational provision is unknown. The team work closely with schools to ensure that all current Year 11 pupils have a post-16 destination recorded. We've performed really strongly in this area over the last year, and this saw us in the top quartile of performance nationally.

If you need help or support, please contact your Early Help Advisor, or email: 

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