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.

If you are a professional and wasnt to find out about local activities and support for children, families and young people, please visit 

Who should I contact if I need support? 

Please start by looking at the  Families Information Service website and/or SEND Local Offer, which provides information and services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, 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

Who should I contact if this support doesn't meet the young person or families needs?

Then please call the Early Help Gateway on  01274 432121  

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. If you need to email the gateway and have a secure email, please email earlyhelpgateway@bradford.gcsx.gov.uk

If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us, please call us for different ways to share information securely. 

Using Signs of Safety means the gateway staff will focus on:

  • what is the family member or worker worried about?
  • what is going well for the family and who already helps them?
  • how we think extra support may help this family?

The gateway will provide advice and guidance and, if appropriate, will link families through to groups and services near where they live through one of the district-wide Early Help teams or a locality based cluster team or panel.

Early Help Plans
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 to make sure the plan is addressing their needs 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 three months to see if the plan is still active.

Getting extra help for children and families
If you need to get more intensive help or if the family is not engaging with the Early Help Plan and you are still worried, one of our Targeted Early Help Teams may be able to provide or arrange intensive and time limited support. It may be that the situation needs to be discussed at one of the multi-agency Early Help panels now taking place regularly across the District.

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.

Early Help clusters
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 the multi agency panel in each area 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
  • All requests for active support MUST be made on a Form a and sent to the gateway at earlyhelpgateway@bradford.gcsx.gov.uk   If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us please call 01274 432121 for different ways to share information securely.
  • Receive step down cases from social work teams to ensure relevant support remains in place. This should be done by 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.

Which cluster is the family in?
You can use the Post Code Checker to find out which cluster will be able to support the family.  The clusters and contact details are listed below.

If you are not on a secure email account and want to contact us please call 01274 432121 for different ways to share information securely. 

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

East & BD5

Cluster Manager is Manjit Cheema

Telephone: 01274 436500

Email: EarlyHelpEastBD5@GCSx.gov.uk


West & Lister Lane

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

Who do I contact if I think a child is at risk of harm?

If you have a concern that a child is being harmed as a result of abuse or neglect, YOU MUST NOT keep these concerns to yourself.  You should call:

  • Children's Initial Contact Point - 01274 437500 during office hours
  • At all other times, call the Emergency Duty Team on 01274 431010
  • If you have reason to believe that a child is at immediate risk of harm, contact the police on 999

Visit these pages if you are concerned about adult abuse or domestic violence

Links to

Signs of Safety

Journey to Excellence


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 03/03/2017. This page has been viewed 13,993 times.