mother holding infant
Mothers’ experiences of perinatal mental health services
2nd July 2019
£390,244 for the Lambeth Advance Care Planning Consortium
29th July 2019

Early Help Streatham Pilot Evaluation

Early Help Streatham Pilot Evaluation Lambeth Healthwatch

Published 23/7/19

Trying out a new model to deliver Early Help to families and children in Lambeth 

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.  

>>Read the full report here.<<

Why Early Help?

Healthwatch lambeth picture of a family

Spotting a problem early on in a family is better for them and the child, allowing them to receive support to overcome the problems before they become more serious.

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.

About the research

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.

What we found

The evaluation found positive results including: 

  • Significant improvement in the relationships between partners working in Children’s Services in Streatham, leading to effective working relationships, to help ensure that vulnerable children are properly looked after.  
  • Evidence of stronger professional practice, around timeliness of assessment, collaboration across different agencies, whole family engagement and use of community resources to ensure sustainable support. 
    Picture of a family smiling

    • Outcomes for families were found to be effective

  • Training and group supervision was well received by partners, creating a shared language and understanding of the common issues affecting families and how to recognise needs.  
  • Outcomes for families were found to be effective, with strong relationships being built between the family and lead professionals, leading to quick access to a range of services.

Recommendations for the future

In addition, the report made some recommendations based on learning from the pilot:

  • Whilst the model was successful at bringing the partnership together, more direct capacity building work and follow-up needs to take place to enable all involved partners.
  • Further work is needed to shift support to being based on families’ needs instead of standardized thresholds.
    A practitioner talking to a family and looking serious

    We found that there needs to be more help for practitioners to engage in challenging conversations with all family members

  • There needs to be more help for practitioners to engage in challenging conversations with all family members effectively in assessment interventions.
  • Mechanisms to involve all relevant agencies need to be improved, as primary care and CAMHS partners, for example, struggled to find the capacity to fully participate in the pilot.
  • To fully ensure that more families can help themselves, there should be opportunities for families to self-refer and access advice and guidance services directly, for example via an up to date and accessible service directory.

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.

 

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