A boy's hand thrust forward towards the camera

Early Help and safeguarding

Early Help

All children deserve the best possible start in life - right help at the right time.

Everyone in the City of York who works with children, young people and families, has a responsibility to support the delivery of Early Help and support them in accessing appropriate services.

As outlined in Working together to safeguard children 2023, "Everyone who works with children has a responsibility for keeping them safe".

Early Help provides support at a time of need in a child or young person’s life and support can be given at any point including transition into becoming an adult.

An effective Early Help model is one of collaboration and brings together families, communities, professionals and systems to work together in a joined up co-ordinated approach to "ensure that children, young people and their families receive the right help at the right time".

Early Help is a collaboration and not the sole responsibility of one service.

Families have interactions with numerous people and services and success lies with being supported by trusted professionals already involved with the family.

Being able to work in partnership with children and families and bring in other agencies in a whole family approach.

We will look to achieve this through our mission statement: "Every conversation starts with the child".

Through our practice model, Signs of Safety, we will work collectively and collaboratively across all of our organisations and systems to ensure that we work with families as a whole rather than individuals.

  • Whole Family Approach
    • Connecting with Families
    • Family Goals
    • Family Action
    • Agency Collaboration
    • Success

The city of York have adopted a collaborative approach in which families are supported by those who already know them and can assess and provide early intervention at a very early level.

Early Help also supports the reduction of children and young people accessing statutory interventions, targeted interventions and improves outcomes.

If you have a concern that a child is vulnerable or at risk of significant harm please contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) in York.

The MASH is a multi-agency team made up of representatives from a range of services, including Social Care, Early Help, Police and Health Professionals and is a single point of contact for all concerns about children. This partnership approach will make it easier to get children, young people and families to get the right level of support as quickly as possible.

Levels of need and response

Multi-agency partnership working supports children at all levels.

Level 1 - Universal Needs:

Child's needs met through access to universal services.

Level 2 - Emerging Needs:

Child has additional or emerging needs, which may require support through a single agency or multi-agency response.

  • consider support
  • initiate an Early Help Assessment
  • consider a team around the child and family meeting

Level 3 - Complex Needs:

Child has complex or multiple needs, which may require targeted support.

Needs should be met by a multi-agency response.

  • initiate a team around child and family
  • consider need for referral to Warly Help Targeted Intervention Service

Level 4 - Specialist Needs:

Social Worker led.

The CYSCP multi-agency Threshold Document: Level of Need Descriptors provides a more aligned multi-agency framework for assessing and responding to need and risks of children and young people.

This document is a guide and a starting point to assist practitioners to come to a common understanding. It provides help and guidance to practitioners at all levels, working in the statutory, public, voluntary and independent sectors who work with children and their families. It allows practitioners to identify levels of need and risk through the use of indicators related to outcomes. It also supports practitioners in determining how their service can best support and work alongside children.

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We use the principles of the Supporting Families Programme to underpin our Early Help and prevention work with children and families. The Supporting Families Programme is the delivery model for Early Help in York, and aims to ensure that those families who need help and support get it at the earliest opportunity and from the right people.

Great things happen when families build on their strengths, call on their support networks and tackle their problems head-on and early. Children, parents and carers are most able to build resilience with the right services at their side who know them well and can offer trusted guidance.

We'll ensure that families with an emerging need for support are linked with a known and trusted professional who will work alongside them in assessing the needs of the whole family, planning solutions to get things back on track. This person would ideally be a trusted person already known to the family who is best placed to work with them and to coordinate other services to support the family and get things back on track.

The Supporting Families Programme is driven by the desire to make sure that we include all family members, and that parents and carers feel comfortable in giving informed consent for services to share information, in a safe way, to support the family.

In this way we not only address the issues that families are experiencing at the time, but also improve their longer term resilience as a family unit. We can then help them to identify support.

When you identify that a family may need early help, please contact the Supporting Families team on email: [email protected] to enquire if a team around the child and family is already underway or to register that you are supporting a child and family.

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The Raise York service is a free and impartial information service for parents and carers of children and young people aged 0 to 19 (or up to 25 for disabled children).

They can help with anything and everything around family life and being a young person.

If you're a parent, carer or young person and have a question but don't know where to go, then please get in touch.

You can contact Raise York on email: [email protected], by telephone: 01904 554444 (Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 4.00pm), or by text on telephone: 07786 202241.

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The multi-agency Early Help Strategy has been developed by the CYSCP in consultation with children and young people, families, as well as a number of its partners and professionals including health, children’s social care, police, education representatives and other CYSCP stakeholders.

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The CYSCP Early Help Practice Guidance aims to provide guidance to the whole range of practitioners working with and supporting vulnerable children, young people and families in the City of York.

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The CYSCP Early Help Assessment Tool is currently being piloted by some partners and will be updated following partner feedback.

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Most families who need some additional support will achieve positive outcomes through an Early Help Assessment and Plan leading onto a Team Around the Family. Where the family and the team around the child and family are struggling to make progress to achieve outcomes, the support of a Child and family support practitioner can be requested.

There are 2 Early Help Targeted Intervention teams covering the city. These consist of skilled and experienced Child and Family Support Practitioners (previously Local Area Support Practitioners and Child In Need practitioners) who will be able to offer short term, time-limited targeted support as part of a Team around the child.

You can use your completed early help assessment to make a referral to the Targeted Intervention Service via MASH using the email address: [email protected].

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Targeted Intervention Support requests can be made by email to: [email protected], where there has been an early help assessment completed and an established team around the child and family. These can be submitted, highlighting the support required.

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Partner Agencies have worked together to develop a multi-agency overarching City of York and North Yorkshire Multi-agency Information Sharing Protocol to create a positive culture of sharing information and facilitate more effective Data Sharing practices between Partner Agencies, with the aim of improving service delivery.

You can see further information regarding this on the about the CYSCP page.

The following documentation is also to be used when working with a family:

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The City of York Council’s approach is to place ward and neighbourhood level working at the heart of building resilient communities, recognising that local people are best placed to understand and find solutions to the particular needs of their communities. Through the development of a new City of York Council Communities and Prevention team, there is an opportunity to place an increased focus on prevention, early help and asset based community development, working across all life stages. It is intended that the team take a strengths based approach, seeing people as assets, recognising the core economy of friends, families and neighbours and building social networks and reciprocity.

The team will seek to build capacity in communities, mapping community assets with citizens and growing a culture of active citizenship and social action. It will also involve creating a wide reaching early help network, involving other parts of the council, schools, primary care networks, other agencies and partners alongside citizens and communities in order to support children, young people and families who are at the edge of social care, through a universal early help offer. Our children’s centres are also being reviewed to enable the co-design of new Family Hubs reflecting the ethos of the ‘supporting families agenda’, ‘best start in life’ and ‘working together’ policy developments.

Further information is available on the following websites:

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