Early Help and Think Family

Early Help and Think Family

What is Early Help?

Early Help is about families receiving prompt and assertive help when needs are identified, either by families themselves asking for help or professionals having worries or seeing needs before they become problematic.

Early Help can include both support to the family in the earliest years of a child’s life and a swift response to the emergence of a problem at any stage later in their lives. A good Early Help plan supports the parents so we can make things better for the children – this is a ‘Think Family’ approach.

GPs, health visiting, schools, Colleges, children’s centres, school nurses, youth services, child care or other community settings often provide most support through working together on a day-to-day basis.

All schools and colleges are also expected to set out how they will provide support to pupils, particularly those with special educational or additional needs.

  • "I am a family member and/or professional and I want to find out about local activities, short breaks for disabled children and young people, parenting groups and support in my area".

Please start by looking at Families Information Service and/or SEND Local Offer (including short breaks). You can also speak to someone from the Families Information Service by contacting:

Telephone helpline:   01274 437503 (8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm Friday)
Urdu/Punjabi Helpline:  01274 431252
Polish/Slovak/Czech Helpline:  01274 434905
Mobile:  Text 'FIS' to 07781472076 and we will call you back.
Email:  fis@bradford.gov.uk

  •  "These websites do not give me the information I need or I am having difficulty accessing the sites".

Then please call the Early Help Gateway:

Telephone:  01274 432121  

Email:     earlyhelpgateway@bradford.gcsx.gov.uk

The Early Help Gateway is made up of workers and managers from Early Help, the Police and Families Information Services. There is also involvement from social workers and Primary Mental Health Link Workers. They will use Signs of Safety in their conversations with you.

Using Signs of Safety means that we will ask you to be as clear as we can about:

  • what we are worried about?
  • what is going well for the family amd who already helps them?
  • how do we think extra support will help this family?

The Gateway will provide advice and guidance and, if appropriate, will link you through to groups and services near the family, one of the district-wide Early Help Teams or a Cluster Team/Panel.

  • "I am already working on an Early Help Plan with a family which is progressing well so far".

Early Help also happens when services already working with families identify the need for a multi-agency plan. Those practitioners identifying the need for multi-agency support should complete an Early Help Assessment with the family to identify strengths and needs, co-ordinate a Team Around the Family Meeting and share information (with consent) with other agencies. They are drawing on the people who already work with them and the family.

At the first Team Around the Family Meeting a Lead Worker will be agreed with the family, who will continue to co-ordinate support and be the key contact for the family and ensure the plan is addressing the needs identified and progress is being made.

We ask the Lead Worker to log this plan with the Early Help Gateway. The Gateway can also provide advice, support and links to groups. The Gateway will contact the Lead Worker after 3-months to see if the plan is still active.

  •  "I think we need some extra or more intensive help for a child or family or the family is not engaging with the Early Help Plan we have tried so far and we are still worried".

It may be that one of our Targeted Early Help Teams can provide intensive and time limited support or that the situation is discussed at one of the multi-agency Early Help Panels.

You will need to get the family to agree and sign consent using the Form A – Request for Support and send this to the Early Help Gateway. We will inform the referrer of the outcome of any request for support within 48 hours of receiving the Form A.

There are five Targeted Early Help clusters across the district. The clusters are co-terminus with our Children’s Centres, school nursing and Health Visiting Teams.

Each Targeted Early Help Cluster team and/or Panels will be able to:

  • Advise on existing early help assessments and plans
  • Provide information, advice and support for Lead Workers in relation to relevant multi-agency support available in the cluster.
  • Support Lead Workers where Early Help plans have become 'stuck' and there is little or no change and there may be difficulty in engaging services to provide necessary support.
  • Advise on access to extra support and/or the Early Help Panel 
  • Receive step down cases from Social Work teams to ensure relevant support remains in place (using a Step Down Meeting to continue to support families who need this to prevent needing social care interventions again. Step-down cases do not necessarily need to be stepped down to a Targeted Early Help Hub if universal services can provide the agreed support.
  • Receive step down from Social Work Assessment Teams.
  • "I am not sure which cluster the family is in?"
Please enter the Post Code into the Post Code Checker

Airedale & Wharfdale (including Shipley)

Cluster Manager is Elke Crunden

Telephone: 01274 436600

Email: EarlyHelpAireWharf@GCSx.gov.uk


Cluster Manager is Sue Walker

Telephone: 01535 618300

Email: EarlyHelpKeighley@GCSx.gov.uk


Cluster Manager is Manjit Cheema

Telephone: 01274 436500

Email: EarlyHelpEastBD5@GCSx.gov.uk


Cluster Manager is Gill Miller/Sharon Hobson

Telephone: 01274 436700

Email: EarlyHelpWestLister@GCSx.gov.uk


Cluster Manager is Derek Lawrence

Telephone: 01274 436500  

Email: EarlyHelpSouth@GCSx.gov.uk

If at any point you have concern that a child is being harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, you must not keep these concerns to yourself. 

In the Bradford district, these are the numbers that you can ring for advice and to make a referral:

  • During office hours (8.30am - 5pm Monday to Thursday, 4.30pm on Friday) call Children's Social Services Initial Contact Point - 01274 437500
  • At all other times, Social Services Emergency Duty Team - 01274 431010
  • If you have reason to believe that a child is at IMMEDIATE RISK OF HARM, contact the Police on 999



Bradford CAF DVD

Training video in which a range of professionals talk about their success with Family CAF. 


Page owned by Neil Christie, last updated on 15/02/2017. This page has been viewed 13,364 times.