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Guidance for those who work or volunteer with children, young people and their families

Level 2: additional support and early help


Urgent concern

If a child or young person is in immediate danger, call 999.

If the child you are concerned about is at risk of immediate harm, call 0345 603 7627 and ask for the priority line. This number is open Monday to Thursday 8:45 am to 5pm, and Fridays 8:45am to 4:15pm.

For out of hours or bank holidays, call the Emergency Duty Team on 0345 606 1212.

If you've identified a child or family that are struggling and need some additional support, acting early will reduce the need for more serious intervention.

At this level you don't have to make a formal request for support, but can take informal steps to help. Examples include:

  • help with school
  • support for parents or carers to improve the child's behaviour
  • meet specific health or emotional needs of the child or parent
  • improve the child's material situation
  • respond to a short-term crisis such as bereavement or parental separation

There's lots of information to support you on our early help resources for practitioners page.

Directory of services

The first step in getting extra support is to identify other groups or agencies who can help.

Our directory of services includes national and local groups. The service who knows the family the best will usually lead the support.

View the directory of services

Team around the family meetings

Where there is more than one service working alongside a child and family, it's helpful for the family and involved services to hold a team around the family meeting. This allows information to be shared and an early help plan to be started.

You can:

Early help plans

An early help plan helps a family discuss and record their needs, strengths and goals. Doing this leads to forming a plan to support them.

The plan should then be given to each family member.

There are lots of different types of early help planning tools. You can use or change these assessment and planning tools to suit the needs of your own agency.

Early help drop-in sessions

Our early help drop-in sessions are for partners partners across Essex who work with children, young people and their families.

At these sessions you can:

  • discuss anonymised cases
  • gain peer support
  • be signposted to advice and help to answer general questions

For more details about the drop-in sessions, email tafso@essex.gov.uk.

Join a session

Area Date Time Link to join
North Essex Tuesdays 3:30pm to 4:30pm Join the Teams call
Mid Essex Wednesdays 12pm to 1pm Join the Teams call
South Essex Wednesdays 12:30pm to 1:30pm Join the Teams call
West Essex Thursdays 12pm to 1pm Join the Teams call

Please note that these sessions do not replace work undertaken by the Children and Families Hub.