In partnership with the Lambeth Council and Lambeth Made we just finished evaluating the Early Help pilot in Streatham. Reframing Early Help Programme aims to improve the Early Help offer to enable families to receive high quality, whole-family support as soon as they start experiencing difficulties. It will create a new model in which families whose needs currently fall below the threshold for Children’s Social Care, will receive timely support form a range of agencies, including Schools, Children’s Centres, Community Health Services and Voluntary Sector Organizations.
Early help is important because spotting a problem early on in a family is better for them and the child, allowing them to receive the needed support to overcome the problems before they become more pressing, complex and potentially dangerous. This can only be done effectively if agencies work together to: identify children and families who would benefit from early help; undertake an assessment of the need for early help; and provide targeted early help services to address the needs of a child and their family.
The evaluation of the Streatham pilot was done using quantitative and qualitative research methods, including case audits carried out by social care ‘advanced practitioners’ and experienced managers, interviews of the internal pilot team by Healthwatch, partnership feedback surveys, focus groups with health, education, youth and voluntary sector services, and evaluation of pre & post pilot referral data.
The evaluation found positive results including:
In addition, the report made some recommendations based on learning from the pilot:
The pilot was largely successful in delivering the partnership vision for Early Help Services in Streatham and there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the model could be used borough wide once the recommendations in this evaluation report are taken up.
If you would like to know more about the pilot, please ring Healthwatch Lambeth on 020 7274 8522.