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Early help service

What is Early Help?

The Early Help Service provides integrated support to children, young people and their families. The key objective of the service is to offer practical advice, support and direct case work to prevent issues escalating and requiring statutory intervention.  

We aim to intervene ‘early’ in terms of the age of a child, and early in terms of an issue arising in the life of a child – from pre-birth to nineteen. Thresholds for support from Early Help have been negotiated with colleagues from Children’s Social Care as part of the Safeguarding Children’s Board threshold protocols.  

We work closely with a range of statutory services (including health and children’s social care), voluntary organisations (e.g. Home-start), Children’s Centres, schools and early years settings.  

We also have responsibility for the Children’s Centres programme; for the take up of free early learning (two, three and four year olds); and for the quality of provision in private and voluntary early years settings (including childminders).

The Early Help service works with children, young people and families who are experiencing difficulties. The team provide a service for children who need extra help with their learning, social, emotional, behavioural, developmental and attendance needs. Services provided include:

The work of the Early Help Service is based around a Team Around the Child approach, with designated lead professionals responsible for the co-ordination of case work. The lead professional can be designated from any of the agencies who form part of the TAC but is most often the person who has most contact with a child and their family and has developed the type of relationship which is most likely to secure a positive outcome.

The service is committed to operating in a way which is:

  • Accessible
  • Responsive
  • Timely
  • Practical
  • Evidence-based and informed by up to date good practice.
  • Collaborative – making the best use of the different skills within our team and with other partners (including voluntary sector and health)
  • Outcome-focused.

Who is in the Early Help team?

The Early Help team comprises of four locality teams (Borough, Bankside and Walworth; Bermondsey and Rotherhithe; Peckham, Nunhead and Peckham Rye; Camberwell and Dulwich) supported by a central team which has strategic oversight and delivers some borough-wide services. The Early Help team includes the following:

  • Education psychologists;
  • Educational welfare officers; 
  • Behaviour specialists;
  • Early intervention practitioners (0-5 yrs);
  • Social workers;
  • Childminding Network co-ordinators;
  • Family support workers;
  • Autism support officers;
  • Evaluation and administrative officers.

Who do we work with?   

We support children (aged 0 - 19 years), their families and their educational setting. We also work with specific groups such as:

  • Children and young people not progressing in learning and development (including special needs, ill health, disengaged from learning, social and emotional difficulties).
  • Children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • Children and young people at times when their families need additional help (parent/carer mental health difficulties, learning difficulties or substance misuse)
  • Children under 5 years with a diagnosis of autism
  • School-age parents
  • Children and young people who have poor attendance or been permanently excluded from education and may be at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.

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Early Help Service

Tel: 020 7525 4780



Contact us

Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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