What early help and preventative services do
In Kent, early help and preventative services are a strategic priority. We've transformed the way we provide services for children, young people and families by changing our ways of working. You can read more about our plans for the year ahead in:
- our Early Help and Preventative Services Strategy and Three Year Plan (PDF, 8.0 MB)
- the early help and preventative services manual (PDF, 1.6 MB) - which shows how the service is structured and organised across all elements of EHPS in Kent.
We provide families, communities and local organisations with the help they need to support all children and young people to do well and to stay safe. We want children and young people to be able to access local services easily, at the right time and in the right place, to avoid problems becoming more serious.
Our services are designed to promote resilience, not reliance. Our vision is that every child and young person and their family will receive early help services when they need them, in a timely and responsive way, so that they are safeguarded, their educational, social and emotional needs are met and outcomes are good, and they are able to contribute positively to their communities now and in the future, including their active engagement in learning and employment.
Kent has developed Early Help Units to support families who need more intensive early help support. These units are made up of a Unit Leader, a Senior Worker, 3 Early Help Workers and a part time Business Support Officer. Working together using a systemic approach and Signs of Safety, the unit undertakes casework with families with children of all ages requiring intensive support for issues such as:
- domestic violence
- youth justice early interventions
- prevention of the need for statutory social care intervention
- attendance or behaviour difficulties at school
- step-downs from Specialist Children’s Services.
Meeting weekly, the team considers creative solutions and monitors progress using a range of unique tools developed to allow our workers to evidence the quality and effectiveness of their work.
Our Triage service acts as the front door for Early Help and Preventative Services and is responsible for receiving notifications from partners who require advice or guidance, or believe that a child, young person or family requires intensive support. Triage will also speak to families who wish refer themselves to our services. If appropriate, cases are sent to the district teams for allocation and further action.
Specialist level Youth Justice and School Inclusion and Attendance work is also integrated within the service. This minimises unnecessary transfer of cases and ensures that the minimum number of professionals are involved with a young person and that good working relationships form the basis of effective practice.
Your qualification can be in teaching, social work, youth work, youth justice or health; what matters is creativity, intelligence and the ability to challenge and support staff to develop innovative solutions to ensure that all children and young people in Kent are "school ready, work ready, life ready".