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Early intervention

Early intervention

What is early help?

Early Help in Wokingham means:

  • Providing targeted help at the right time in the life of the child through to adulthood (including pre-natal interventions)    
  • Anticipating where need may arise in priority groups, often by an understanding of wider services at the right time to meet the family’s needs and to keep them in control of resolving their issues and problems
  • Stepping in to prevent escalation of children, young people and families needing any sort of specialist service
  • When specialist intervention is needed, delivering permanent resolution in good time

In Wokingham our Integrated Early Help service provide whole family and group based support to children, young people and their parents/carers who have been assessed as being in need of more support than universal services provide.

We are based in Children’s Centres, Wokingham Youth Centre and the Family Resource Centre and our skilled staff work in community based centres, schools and family homes to ensure support is accessible. 

We use a solution focused, strength based approach to help families and sometimes other professionals to identify what is working well for the children and family and agree on the areas that need to change. We will agree a time limited support plan to ensure our interventions help people make positive changes in their lives. 

Our Youth Offending Service provide early help support to reduce the risk of exploitation and offending behaviour amongst young people as well as delivering post-court interventions. 

Our children’s centres and health visitors work closely together to provide universal health visiting support and targeted whole family support for families with children under 5. Support with accessing entitlements and benefits, including 2 year funding grant is also available. 

Visit our health services at children's centres page for more details.

Our targeted approach helps to break the cycle of families being dependent on services by increasing resilience in children and families and promoting the use of community based support. 

Referrals

Referrals are received through our Duty, Triage and Assessment team (DTA) our locality Social Work teams and through the Courts where it is felt that Early Help Interventions can reduce the risks associated with:

  • Harm, neglect and social isolation
  • Children going missing from home
  • Exclusion from school 
  • Involvement in anti-social behaviour and offending
  • Child exploitation
  • Family breakdown/Edge of care


Referrals for Early Help support are discussed in a weekly Multi-Agency Early Help Hub where other specialist or community based support may be offered to families.

Early Intervention can support a range of different needs, for example:

  • Developmental delay in a young child and providing additional support in
  • A child having difficulty settling into school, which may be affecting that child's behaviour
  • A young person who is grieving following bereavement or family break-up  
  • Families who are affected by disadvantage or disrupted lives
  • Anti-social behaviour or substance misuse issues in older children
  • Working with families where domestic abuse is an issue  
     

Assessing your needs

One of the important ways we help families through early intervention is by using a simple, effective assessment of children's and families' needs. 

This helps us to work with you to identify the most effective ways to work with children and families to change their lives for the better. This is called the Early Help Assessment. This assessment is carried out by a professional already working with a child, young person or family - known as the lead professional. An assessment will be completed within 30 days of our allocation meeting - Early Help Hub - and will be reviewed 6 weekly.

The work that follows that assessment is co-ordinated by a lead professional.

The lead professional will be based in one of these services:

  • Children’s centres - This can involve one to one support for families with children (pre-birth to 5) as well as providing support to access the children’s centre groups, parenting advice and guidance, help with finding and preparing for nursery provision such as 2 year funding, managing finances, volunteering and adult learning. They also run both Incredible years and Triple P parenting groups throughout the year. We have Children’s centres based locally in Woodley, Shinfield, Twyford, Finchampstead and Wokingham  
  • Parenting and Family Support - This can involve one to work with children aged 5-18 to support parents and the child with behavioural concerns or challenging behaviour, poor attendance at school, anti- social behaviour, the impact of parental substance misuse and or parental mental health and where there has been parental separation which can involve issues over contact. We can also advise and provide direct input to children and families where there are worries over self-harm, feelings of low self-worth or CSE- Child sexual exploitation- concerns. In relation to parenting, we also run Triple P parenting groups for primary and secondary aged children which run throughout the year.
  • Youth Offending Service - This can involve direct work with the child and family where there are early warning signs of offending and or anti-social behaviour.
  • NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) Prevention Service
  • Youth Offending Service    

Team Around the Family and network meetings

The Team Around the Family or network meetings can consist of:

  • Wider family and significant people in the child’s life
  • A teacher or designated lead from their School
  • SMART- Substance misuse worker who is either working with the child or family directly or providing advice and support
  • CAMHS - Child and Mental Health Service- worker involved with the child
  • Health Visitor, midwife or School nurse if applicable

Education welfare

Other Early Intervention services are provided by other Wokingham Borough Council departments, or by other partner organisations in the borough and beyond. These services include:

  • Education Welfare Service
  • Education Psychology Service
  • Young Person’s Health Service
  • Young Person’s Substance Misuse Service
  • Foundry College
  • Special Educational Needs
  •    

For more information read our early intervention principles (PDF document)

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