Early Help: prevention in childhood

Early Help describes the range of support that can be offered in response to the emerging needs of children, young people and families. When a child’s needs increase, more than one service may be required to meet their needs. ‘Early Help’ is the name given to the way services work together, in a coordinated way, to support the child, young person and their family. If we do this well, fewer children will need to be supported by statutory services, such as children’s social care. The Devon Threshold Tool and Devon Assessment Framework (DAF) allow professionals, whichever organization they work for, to assess the needs of a child, young person or family and involve partner organisations or support services and enable the process of providing or accessing support services can begin. Support, advice and guidance to assist practitioners involved with early help activity in Devon is available through the Early Help Coordination Centre (EHCC). Support and advice are available around completion of the DAF, contacting agencies and identifying lead professionals and signposting professionals and families to local services and support. Early help advisors, based in locality areas provide support in completing high quality assessments, with clear, positive outcomes for children, young people and their families.

Devon Early Help Strategy: www.devonsafeguardingchildren.org/parents-carers/early-help

Box 3, Young People and Community Health Services, Perceptions and ExperiencesIn May 2014, the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) started a major review of community health and care services. Healthwatch Devon undertook a survey of young people in Budleigh Salterton, which has a predominantly older population profile, to gain insights into what younger people thought about community health services in the area. A total of 281 young people from Budleigh Salterton took part in the engagement, through an online survey, and focus groups and interviews at different locations.

Key findings include:

  • The top three health and care issues highlighted by young people were sexual health, mental health and smoking
  • Young people want frank and open discussions, but health professionals can seem inaccessible and unfriendly
  • Young people want better awareness of mental health issues including self-harm
  • Young people with special needs often feel excluded from places and activities

Healthwatch Devon concluded that future community wellbeing hubs could be of value and relevance to young people if they provided advice and resources about a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders, alongside the provision of social space for the whole community.


Healthwatch Devon, ‘Young people speak out on community health services’ Report, 2014 http://healthwatchdevon.co.uk/young-people-speak-out/