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North Lincolnshire Council understands the importance of ensuring children and families receive early support and help in order to prevent difficulties escalating and requiring specialist support. We recognize that the child and their families are often the expert regarding their child's needs and therefore feel it is vital that we work together to improve outcomes.
In order to do this effectively North Lincolnshire Council have adopted the Early Help programme, alongside the Early Support principles for children with additional needs.
Early Support is the Government's programme to improve the quality, consistency and coordination of services for children with emerging additional needs and their families across England.
Early Support is targeted at families with additional support needs associated with disability or emerging special educational needs.
An Early Support pack has been produced for parents. This includes a number of information booklets relating to particular conditions or disabilities and useful contacts for national organisations. It also includes the family file. This is designed for families to collate information about their child and be able to share it with professionals involved. It encourages joint planning, keeps everyone up to date with what is happening and helps parents give current information about their family and child to the people who are working with them.
Early Support in North Lincolnshire aims to empower families who have young children with additional needs/disabilities. It will support early identification, offer flexible coordinated services to meet individual needs and enable children to reach their full potential.
Families are encouraged to choose an Early Support Lead who will support them and their child by coordinating their needs, acting as a single point of contact for the range of services involved ensuring an integrated support plan is in place.
Family Support Plan meetings enable families to share information, helping both parents and professionals work together more effectively when meeting a child's individual needs.
Partnership working between families and professionals means that families remain at the heart of any discussions or decisions about their child. Their views are listened to and respected and their expertise is valued by the professionals working with them.
Early help includes both:
Early Help is intervening early and as soon as possible to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families, or with a population most at risk of developing problems. It is about offering help to children and families before any problems are apparent and in providing help when low level problems emerge.
Early Help is not about specialist services for children, young people and their families. Specialist services are there to support families who are experiencing significant difficulties e.g. social care services for children who are at risk of harm.
Early Help is about stepping in to prevent escalation of children, young people and families needing any sort of specialist service so that low level services are provided at the right time to meet family's needs and to keep them in control of resolving their issues and problems.
Early Help is important as it allows for support to be put in place at the right time to meet families needs prior to issues reaching crisis point and to reinforce families own skills to determine their life course and therefore reduce poor outcomes and inequalities for children and young people. It also helps to break the cycle of families being dependent on services by empowering and enabling them to do things for themselves and making them more resilient and independent.
The principles that underpin North Lincolnshire's Early Help offer for families are outlined in Chapter 1 of the Local Safeguarding Children's Board (LSCB) Policy and Procedures called 'Assessing Need and Providing Help'. These are:
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Page Reference: What is early help