What is the Early Help Assessment (EHA)? - An EHA provides an assessment when a child or young person and their family are identified as needing some additional help and it is thought they would benefit from coordinated support from more than one agency. An EHA provides an opportunity for the whole family to consider and prioritise their needs and build on their strengths within the context of their own family.
The approach is one where practitioners come together to share information to find out what support is required and work as a team around the family. A single SMART action plan will be developed, and progress will be reviewed regularly.
It is an assessment tool and as such it is not about making referrals, requests for additional services or used to pass families to another practitioner or team. It is not about form filling; it is about having a meaningful conversation with a family about their strengths and challenges, working out what they need and identifying the right people to provide the right support at the right time.
When concerns arise, school should consider the North Tyneside Safeguarding Children Board’s Threshold document, and where a child’s needs are thought to be at an appropriate level for early help, the school should undertake an EHA to identify what help the child and family require and prevent the needs escalating to a point where intervention would be needed via a statutory assessment.
If at any stage during the EHA process, there are worries that a child or young person has been harmed or is at risk of harm, normal safeguarding procedures must be followed, and school must contact the Front Door
The lead person for engaging in the process of EHA will be determined in each school with a named staff member being identified, however this does not exclude other members of school staff being asked to contribute to the assessment or becoming the lead worker in the early help process.
Professionals can ring the Early Help and Co-ordination Team or the Front Door to find out if an EHA already exists for a child/family and for further information on the early help process. Each school is also linked to an Integrated Locality team. Contacts can be found in the school’s full child protection policy.
Below you will find a flowchart representation of the North Tyneside Early Help Pathway. Click on the image for a larger version, and please feel free to print or download it.