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1.6 Early Help Assessment


This guidance provides information on Early Help in services in Liverpool. Early Help is a partnership model of working which is based on the consent of the child, young person or family. With the agreement of the family and child (depending on their age and level of understanding) an Early Help Assessment will be carried out and used to inform the development of a multi-agency Plan in order to better understand the family's needs and identify the most appropriate support for the child, young person or family, at the right time.


Working Together to Safeguard Children, Chapter 1: Assessing Need and Providing Help


EHAT Practitioner Guidance


A link to the Early Help Guidance was added to this chapter in June 2020.


  1. Introduction
  2. Early Help Assessment
  3. Links to Related Documents

1. Introduction

Most children and young people living in Liverpool will be best supported, and have their needs met, by universal service provision with additional support provided as required by a single agency or through partnership working. However some children may require the provision of universal, targeted and / or specialist services working together in a co-ordinated way to meet their needs.

The term 'Early Help' describes a co-ordinated, partnership approach to working with children, young people and families whose needs and circumstances might make them more vulnerable. In order for Early Help to be successful, there needs to be a firm commitment from all agencies to work in partnership to meet the needs of children, young people and families at the earliest opportunity.

Related National Documents

2. Early Help Assessment

A standardised approach is fundamental in the identification of Early Help needs for children and engagement of support services for families. Liverpool uses the Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) to record and analyse the needs of families. An Early Help Assessment is a process for undertaking a standardised approach to assessment and to help practitioners gather and understand information about the needs and strengths of a child (or children within a family). This is based on discussions with the child(ren), their family and other practitioners as appropriate. It is a key part of delivering frontline services that are integrated and focused around the needs of children and young people. This standardised approach helps in fully engaging family members, identifying strengths and needs and deciding how those needs should be met and which support services should be engaged.

The process promotes effective early identification of additional needs, particularly helpful when families are accessing universal services. It is intended to provide a framework within which those who work with children will work together across agency and practitioner boundaries to help all children achieve their potential, whatever their background while minimising the risk of children experiencing harm or abuse.

It provides a simple process for a holistic assessment of a child's needs and strengths, taking account of the role of parents, carers and environmental factors on their development.

Practitioners will then be better placed to agree, with the child and family what support is appropriate. The process should also help to improve integrated working by promoting co-ordinated service provision.

N.B. The Early Help Assessment (EHAT) is not intended to replace or delay any concerns around child protection. If you believe a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, you should make a referral to Children's Social Care as set out in the Referrals, Investigation and Assessment Procedure and Careline Children's Referral Process (Local Flowchart).

3. Links to Related Documents

In order to assist practitioners to understand the early help process in Liverpool, comprehensive practitioner guidance has been produced. For access to this guidance and associated forms please see Liverpool County Council website, Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT).