About this strategy

Early Help is our approach to providing support and help to children, young people and their families as soon as problems start to emerge or when it’s likely there’ll be problems in the future.

We want to make sure that all communities and partners work together to make Barnsley the best place that it can be for Early Help for children and young people.  Making sure that people get:

  • the right help
  • at the right time
  • in the right place

How will Early Help work?

We all need to work together to make sure that people get the right help as early as we can.  Helping people earlier can reduce or prevent more problems. 


Working together

Resources are reducing, and demand for services is increasing. We need to join together and share our help and services to make sure people in our communities get the right support, at the right time, in the right place as early as possible.

The Early Help Strategy will bring together a range of public, private, voluntary, community and social enterprise partners so we're all working together to help to deliver the support that is needed for families.  

Everyone's responsibility to help

It's important that people who work with the children, young people and their families can see that there may be a problem that they need help with.  Midwifes, health visitors, teachers, teaching staff, school meals assistants, youth workers, employment advisers, housing officers etc can have a conversation with families to talk about their needs, starting the process to find help for families. 

Early help is noticed in lots of different ways, for example: 

  • A midwife identifies concerns about a lack of support for a teenager who is pregnant and is reporting that they are struggling with their emotional health and scared they won’t be able to cope with a baby
  • A health visitor sees a family finding it difficult adapting to a new baby at home and has concerns about attachment between mum and baby
  • A member of school staff observes that a child may have behavioural or emotional issues and is often at school early and is reluctant to go home
  • A school meals assistant notices a child is always hungrier than their peers and always asks for more food
  • An education welfare officer identifies a young person’s persistent absence from school, or has concerns about a family’s support needs where their child is electively home educated
  • A detached youth worker is worried that a young person may be putting themselves at greater risk of offending or entering the criminal justice system
  • An employment adviser is concerned that a parent may be subject to a benefit sanction
  • A housing officer notices a family struggling with debt and at risk of eviction
  • A drug or alcohol worker feels that children in the family home may be vulnerable through the risk-taking behaviour of adults
  • A customer services call handler has a conversation with a member of the public who is struggling to manage their household budget. 
  • A workman overhears a parent shouting at their child, and they are clearly struggling to cope with their child's behaviour.  

We want to make everyone aware and responsible for trying to get help for children, young people and their families.  

Helping children, young people and families 

Early Help is about giving people the help they need as early as possible and supporting children, young people and their families to do more for themselves. Help may be needed at any point in someone’s life and can involve interventions early on in life and early at the start of a problem.

We want to work together to empower local people and communities to build capacity and resilience to do more for themselves.

We'll do this by:

Engage: Building positive and trusting relationships based on honest and open conversations with children, young people and their families. 

Empower: Families are the best people to know what they're struggling with.  We'll listen to everyone in the family and build a plan and all work together to get the right help. 

Enable: We'll support families to come together and use their own resources and strengths to deal with challenges.  Families will be shown how to work and lead on their own plan.  This will help families to build skills so they can deal with problems for themselves now and in the future.  

How will we do this 

It is everybody’s responsibility to identify and assess needs, through having conversations with children young people and their families and planning with them to address these needs. Our Early Help approach is underpinned by the framework of Assess, Plan, Do and Review.

When someone sees that a child, young person or their family needs help we can: 

  • Assess - Have conversations with the child or young person and their family to find out what help is needed. 
  • Plan - A plan of what help is needed and when will be done and agreed with the child, young person and their family. 
  • Do - Child, young person and their family get the help they need from one or more different services or agencies. 
  • Review -This will be looked at to see if the help and support is working and if any more is needed. 

What we're working on

Making sure people know how and where to get help. 

Providing the right help and letting people use the skills and knowledge they've learnt to lead happier and healthier lives.

Priority 1 - getting help

The right help, in the right place at the right time.

This means that children, young people and families will: 

  • know what advice and support is available to them to help them respond to problems or needs arising due to their changing circumstances.
  • know where and who to go to for support and what to expect.
  • be able to deal with issues or problems before they become more severe or complicated. They will be helped to be independent and resilient enough to support themselves safely in the longer term.
  • be able to access the right services at the right time and have access to good quality information, evidence-based services and support.

Priority 2 - working together

A whole system approach to Early Help with strong partnership working and system leadership.

This means that: 

  • Early Help partners will work together to reduce duplication, share knowledge about services available, and make sure that people who need more help don’t fall through gaps.
  • there will be no wrong door for people who need to access advice and support.
  • intelligence and insight will be available to help services to effectively target and co-ordinate early intervention, inform service delivery, support demand management and monitor performance.
  • the children and young people’s workforce will be well equipped with the appropriate skills, resources, and confidence to deliver effective Early Help.
  • ensuring that children young people and families can access the right services at the right time without delay will be everyone’s responsibility.
  • Early Help will be embedded across all partners services and aligned with other key strategies including neglect, Child exploitation, and poverty.
  • all partners will utilise the universal Early Help Assessment to gain a holistic understanding of need and will participate in undertaking Early Help Assessments including fulfilling the role of Lead Professional.
  • all partners will provide oversight to their own agencies work within the Early Help System to identify and address any weakness in practice.

Priority 3 - empowering people

Empowering local people and communities to build capacity and resilience, helping people and communities to do more for themselves. 

This means that children, young people and their families will: 

  • feel supported and have the information they need and confidence to seek support services when needed.
  • achieve better outcomes and will experience effective transitions across ages and stages and also between children’s and adults services.
  • be able to access the right services digitally at the right time.
  • be heard, and their views and feedback will shape the intervention they receive and wider service delivery.

Healthy, Learning and Growing Barnsley

By working on our three priorities we're contributing towards our Barnsley 2030 plan.

Healthy Barnsley

  • Everyone is able to enjoy a life in good physical and mental health.
  • Fewer people live in poverty, and everyone has the resources they need to look after themselves and their families.
  • People can access the right support, at the right time and place and are able to tackle problems early.
  • Our diverse communities are welcoming, supportive and resilient.

Learning Barnsley

  • Children and young people aim high and achieve their full potential with improved educational achievement and attainment.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to create wider social connections and enjoy cultural experiences.
  • Lifelong learning is promoted and encouraged, with an increase in opportunities that will enable people to get into, progress at and stay in work.
  • Everyone fulfils their learning potential, with more people completing higher-level skills studies than ever before.

Growing Barnsley

  • Residents, businesses and organisations are more confident in accessing and using digital resources, benefitting all aspects of daily life.

Full Early Help Strategy 

If you'd like to find out more information, you can read our Early Help Strategy in full.