Thresholds for intervention guidance

Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. This guidance has been developed alongside multi-agency partners to inform practitioners in agencies working with children, young people, and families. The purpose of this guidance is to support agencies and practitioners to understand the needs of children, young people and their families. It will make sure that families receive the right support at the earliest opportunity, from the most appropriate service.

In this guide you'll find:

  • details about how to use the guidance effectively
  • a framework of needs for children, young people, and their families on a spectrum to assist practitioners to understand the individual circumstances of each child

Please read the following details before accessing the Thresholds for Intervention framework document.

How to use this guidance

  • The term ’threshold’ and the detailed descriptors should be used only as a guide to aid professional judgement about the level of need and the access to services to meet that need.
  • The descriptors should be used to support decision-making. If you're unsure, always seek advice.

We're committed to a needs-led approach, focusing on the child and empowering families to be involved in the decisions made. You should use this guide with families to identify and build on strengths and resilience, as well as to identify what we're worried about and what needs to happen.

Our vision and principles

Barnsley is committed to working in a multi-agency way, recognising the role all services play in providing support and intervention to children, young people and families. There's a wide range of support options available across the borough and we're committed to making sure all services are aware of how to identify needs, and how to access the right support, from across the system for our families.

Barnsley’s Vision:

Barnsley is a place of possibilities; We're one service with one goal, working together to build a brighter Barnsley for every child.

Our principles:

  • Putting children and families first
  • Working together in partnership to deliver joined-up care
  • Delivered by a strong and valued workforce

Early help

Early help is our approach to providing support to children, young people and families as soon as problems start to emerge, or when there's a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future. Early help may occur at any point in a child or young person’s life, from childhood to adolescence. It includes both interventions early in life as well as interventions early in the development of a problem.

In Barnsley, our approach is that early help is everyone’s responsibility. We use the early help assessment (EHA) to support the understanding of needs, strengths and risks that exist for the child, young person and their family.

A good quality EHA process provides a holistic analysis of the family’s needs and strengths and is also:

  • Child and young person centred - the child/young person is seen and kept in focus throughout the assessment.
  • Inclusive - The assessment includes the voice of the child/young person and their family and their views and voice are captured throughout the assessment process.
  • Clear - the assessment is concise and uses family friendly language by all those involved.
  • Promotes equal opportunities - the assessment is not biased and gives positive expression to the opinions and experiences of the child and their family without prejudice or discrimination.
  • Professionalism the assessment is non-judgemental and follows organisational codes of practice for recording/writing public documents.
  • Authentic - the assessment is an accurate and evidence-based record of the discussions with the child/young person and their family and with professionals.
  • Solution focused - the assessment focuses on what the child/young person and their family want to achieve.
  • Accessible - for everyone, including the efficient use of time and access to the tools needed to undertake the assessment (eg. equipment, interpreter).
  • Transparent - the purpose of the assessment is clear; the discussion is open and honest and there's no hidden agenda.
  • Practical - The assessment clearly identifies the strengths and needs of the child and their family and there is an appropriate action plan to address those needs. It also gives information on what could happen if no action is taken.

Information and guidance regarding the completion of an Early Help Assessment can be found by accessing the early help toolkit for practitioners.

Having the right conversations

Collaborative partnership working relies not just on information sharing or making requests for support. It also requires meaningful conversations with the family and between the professionals who are involved or those who might need to be involved to offer support.

These conversations are vital, they should go beyond the initial concerns to develop part of an informed assessment (using the EHA where appropriate). Conversations should build understanding of the child or young person and lead to appropriate action and support for them and their family.

Important factors to consider:

  • What is life like for the child or young person now, and what will it be like in the future?
  • What are the parents or carer’s feelings about the situation?
  • To what extent do they understand that they need help and support and what is their capacity to change?
  • What support or interventions can your organisation offer?
  • Could this meet the needs of the child, young person and their family, or is help needed from another agency?
  • What additional support or intervention is needed to help protect them?

The knowledge and relationship of those already in contact with the family should play a key part in referral decisions. Consistency for families in relation to the people supporting them is an important factor in building resilience.

Remember this is only a guide - individual cases need judgment and when in doubt contact your named or designated safeguarding professional.

Access the Thresholds for Intervention framework.

Useful Links

Useful contact numbers

  • Emergency Duty Team (01226) 787789
  • South Yorkshire Police 101/999
  • Community Safety and Enforcement (01226) 773555
  • Families Information Service 0800 0345 340
  • Disabled Children's Team (01226) 774050
  • Branching Minds - emotional health and wellbeing support (01226) 107377
  • 0-19 PHNS Single Point of Access (01226) 774411