What is early help?

Early help is the support we give to children, young people and their families where they have additional needs that aren't being met by universal services (services that are available to everyone, like health and education).

When a family has additional needs, we make sure they've access to the support they need at the earliest possible stage. This is to prevent their needs becoming so great that they require a higher level of more specialist support further down the line.

Early help helps

An insight into the wide range of Early Help Services by some of the Barnsley residents who access them. Find out how Early Help helps!

Who it's for

Our early help offer is for children and young people up to the age of 19 (25 if they have learning development needs or disabilities) and their families.

Who provides the support

If your family needs additional support, you could receive early help from one or a number of services.  This could include family support workers, targeted youth support, family centres, school nurses, speech and language therapists, housing workers, community safety workers, NHS staff and services in the voluntary and community sector.

Our family centre service and targeted youth support service work closely together to provide one gateway to services for all children and families through family centres and locally based 'I Know I Can' (IKIC) young person centres. A full range of services can be delivered on site, in other suitable community venues, or in the home.

Family centres offer a timetable of groups and activities and include services delivered by partner agencies, including a full range of information, advice and guidance on wider services available in a community.

If you live in Barnsley, you can register and access services at any family or IKIC centres. 

Levels of support

We offer early help, either through universal or targeted services, based on individual need, which we identify through an early help assessment of the whole family.

Universal services

Most children and young people will enjoy a happy, safe and healthy childhood with support from their families and from universal services - those available to everyone, like health and education. These are provided as a right to all children, young people and their families, including those whose needs are also met within targeted and/or specialist and statutory services.

Families may self-refer into these services or may just need access to information, guidance and signposting. 

Targeted support

For children, young people and families who face more challenges and may have multiple needs, targeted services provide additional capacity and expertise to address their needs. A programme of targeted group provision and one to one support is available through our family centres. 

Targeted one to one support through a family support worker/EIP worker is available to children, young people and families.  Where an early help assessment is necessary because of the level of the child or family's needs and the number of agencies that may need to be involved in providing support.

Specialist services

When a child or young person’s needs can't be met by universal or targeted services, practitioners can make a request directly to a more specialist service.  Especially where they feel that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.