What is early help?

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

When a family has extra needs, we make sure they can get the support they need as early as possible. This is to prevent their needs becoming so great that they need a higher level of support later on.

Early help helps

Watch our video to find out about a range of early help services from some of the people who use them. See how early help helps!

Who it's for

Early help is for children and young people up to the age of 19, and their families. If the young person has a learning development need or disability, the support can go up to age 25.

Who provides the support

If your family needs extra support, you could receive early help from one or more services. This could include:

  • family support workers
  • targeted youth support
  • family hubs
  • school nurses
  • speech and language therapists
  • housing workers
  • safety workers
  • NHS staff
  • services in the voluntary sector

Our family hubs and youth support service work to provide services for all children and families. This is done through family hubs and local I Know I Can (IKIC) young person hubs. A range of services can be delivered on site, in other community venues, or in the home. If you live in Barnsley, you can register and access services at any family or IKIC centre. 

Levels of support

We offer early help, either through universal or targeted services, based on need. We identify these with 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 family and universal services. These are services that are available to all, like health and education. They're provided as a right to all children, young people and their families. This includes those whose needs are also met by targeted and/or specialist services.

Families can self refer into these services or may just need some information and guidance.

Targeted support

This is for those who face more challenges and may have multiple needs. These services provide extra expertise to meet these. Group provision and one to one support is available through our family hubs.

One to one support through a family support worker or EIP worker is available where an early help assessment is needed. This is because of the level of need and number of agencies involved in giving support.

Specialist services

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