A plan of action to help families deal with issues before they escalate out of control has been agreed by councillors.
At Knowsley Council’s Cabinet last night (5 April 2017), Knowsley’s Early Help Strategy 2017-2020 was given the green light. It means support will be offered to children and families at the earliest opportunity to prevent issues deteriorating, which ultimately could result in a higher level of intervention from social care, for example.
Early Help is far reaching, but examples include support with school attendance, behavioural issues, domestic abuse, financial, housing and employment issues.
Early Help can be required at any time in a child’s life, even before they are born right through to adulthood, and it applies to any problem or need that the family can’t deal with alone.
The strategy outlines six key priorities that will be addressed over the next three years, with the aim of reducing demand on Children’s Social Care, enabling families to thrive and for family members to meet their potential.
To ensure the right support is offered (and accepted) at the right time, Knowsley Council and partners will work with children and families to deliver six key priorities:
- Children to get the best start in life – it is well evidenced that a child’s experience during their early years lays down a foundation for the whole of his/her life. Services will work with parents to develop their central role in enabling children to start well and then grow well through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.
- Enable healthy and independent families – a partnership approach will be applied to promote positive emotional wellbeing and mental health, education, learning and employment.
- Adopt a family and child-centred approach – the right support is offered at the right time, in the right way where families and children feel involved in any decisions that are taken – working with families rather than to or for them.
- Ensure everyone has a part to play – a partnership approach, ensuring all services work with children and families to identify, design and deliver Early Help.
- Better use of information and intelligence – ensuring those needing help are identified at the earliest opportunity and prevent problems from escalating.
- Ensure effective early help systems and processes are in place – families know how and when to access help.