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Early Help

Early Help Front Door process guide

Our commitment at the Early Help Front Door is to provide children and families with help as soon as needs present themselves, regardless of age, to prevent those needs from escalating and requiring more intensive help and support later on.

Professional referrers are asked to send Early Help Family Support Assessments (EHFSA) to earlyhelpcontactpoint@southend.gov.uk. We no longer accept EHAs for new cases, but will continue to accept EHAs and TACAFs for new actions for existing cases and we are more than happy to assist in the completion should this be required. The Early Help Family Support practitioner is on duty every day between 9am and 5.30pm, and can be contacted on 01702 215783.

We will process referrals for most services appropriate to children, although health referrals such as The Lighthouse Centre need to be made by the parent via their GP. We will however send the EHFSA to The Lighthouse Centre for information for the paediatrician. 

We ask that all assessments are competed as fully as possible with full details of the lead child, all persons living within the household, absent parents and other adults who play a key role on the child/ren’s lives. Please note that each assessment is now for the family and there is no longer a need for separate assessments for each child. Consent must be evidenced from the parents/carers. 

We will respond to your email within 24 working hours and allocate the case to a team and/or send the assessment to an external service within 48 working hours. You will receive an email advising you which team we have allocated the case to and be copied into emails sent to external services. Therefore we can assure you that every referral we receive will result in one of the following outcomes:

  1. Alternative help suggested as no other concerns or issues within the family and the presenting issue is better addressed at a universal level with support from our community workers;  
  2. Family has emerging or multiple needs and will be supported through EHFS Family Support;
  3. Immediate safeguarding concerns about significant harm; referral discussed with First Contact duty manager and referrer notified. 

The Early Help Front Door now sits alongside the First Contact Front Door within the MASH+ Team meaning the two duty managers are able to discuss cases to ensure that every child and family receive support as and when it is needed from the most appropriate team within Children’s Services. 

Safeguarding referrals must be made to MASH+ by phone and supported by an email with a completed EHFSA the same day. 

FCT@southend.gcsx.gov.uk  01702 534496/215870