Early Help (support for families)

We provide services that can be accessed at a time and place that suits families to help them to do well, stay safe and resolve problems at the earliest possible opportunity, before they become more serious.

Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family early in the life of a problem or as soon as it emerges.

The help can be required at any stage in a child's life, whether it's from pre-birth to adulthood. It applies equally to safeguarding or complex needs that the family cannot deal with, or meet on their own.

The support requires agencies to work together to ensure a child and their family:

  • receives support in a timely and responsive way, so that children are safeguarded
  • educational, social and emotional needs are met
  • outcomes are good.

Early Help reflects the widespread evidence base that it is better to identify and deal with problems early rather than respond when difficulties have emerged.

Assessments and intensive support is currently offered through our Early Help Units. Whilst our open access services are delivered via our Children’s Centres and Youth Hubs, who provide universal, targeted and additional support.

Read our Early Help leaflet for families (PDF, 906.9 KB)

We provide a range of services to meet the educational, social and emotional needs of children, young people and families in Kent through our partner organisations.

For example, we can offer support if:

  • you are worried about your child's behaviour
  • you are struggling to cope
  • you are worried about your family finances
  • your child is struggling to cope with bereavement
  • your child is being bullied
  • your child refuses to go to school or college
  • you or your child want to develop new friends and have new experiences
  • you are having difficulties with family relationships.

Depending on the help that you are looking for, there are a number of ways in which you can ask for Early Help support through our partner organisations.

Children's Centres and Youth Hubs

Your local Children’s Centre can provide a wide range of groups and services aimed at families including:

  • stay and play, baby massage
  • midwifery appointments
  • Health Visitor antenatal and post-natal appointments
  • young parents groups
  • parenting support
  • breastfeeding support
  • communication and language
  • community and health services

Youth Hubs provide services which are aimed at young people and adolescents including:

  • support the personal development of young people
  • help young people develop stronger relationships
  • encourage young people to respect and value differences
  • promote the voice of young people
  • help to set up, plan and evaluate youth club sessions

Your child's school

Your child's school or nursery can help if there is an issue with your child's school attendance and can arrange for support from us if it is needed.

Alternatively, find out what services are available for children who are in a pre-school provision, including children with SEND and our childcare advice line.

Young people

There are a number of services which can support young people in Kent, including:

  • HeadStart, who support young people to cope better with difficult circumstances before they become serious issues
  • Kent Young Carers, a countywide service for Young Carers aged 5-18 across Kent
  • services available for young people, including Kent Youth County Council, volunteering opportunities, sexual health advice, the Try Angle Awards

Further help

You can also find out more about:

Information about our family support services is also available in alternative formats and can be explained in a range of languages. Call 03000 41 41 41 for details.

Once you have contacted a support service, we'll work with you to:

  • identify what you would like to achieve
  • decide what type of support would suit you best
  • agree the next steps
  • agree when you have achieved what you wanted and our support is no longer needed.

The conversations you have with us will, with your agreement, be recorded and held electronically to assist us in providing you with the most effective support. You will be given copies of the information to review and keep.