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Finding the right level of support for children and young people

There are lots of ways we can give support to children, young people and their families.

To get the right help at the right time, we've split different needs into 4 levels.

You won't always need to complete a request for support form to get help.

Level 1: universal services

No additional support required. The child or young person's needs are met through open-access services and their parents or carers, and they are making good progress.

Level 2: additional support and early help

Some additional support needed. One or more services provide voluntary support with the aim of preventing the need for higher level referrals.

This might include:

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

You don't need to make a request for support at this level, but you can get help by:

  • arranging a team around the family meeting
  • completing an Early Help Plan (EHP)
  • talking to a Team Around the Family Support Officer
  • finding help in the directory of services

Find out more about level 2 additional support

Level 3: multi-disciplinary support and Family Solutions

You've already had an Early Help Plan meeting, but the child or young person's needs are more complex, especially around behaviour and parenting. More agencies are needed to work together, in a more intensive way to avoid a statutory intervention. This could include Family Solutions.

This might include children or families who:

  • have a disability resulting in complex needs
  • exhibit anti-social or challenging behaviour
  • suffer neglect or poor family relationships
  • have poor engagement with key services such as school and health
  • are not in education or work long-term

You can get help by:

  • completing a request for support form

Find out more about level 3 multidisciplinary support and Family Solutions

Level 4: specialist intervention

Children are likely to suffer significant harm, lasting impairment or be removed from home without specialist intervention.

This might include children:

  • suffering significant harm from abuse or neglect
  • who have significant impairment of function or learning or life limiting illness
  • whose parents and wider family are unable to care for them

It could also include families:

  • involved in crime or the misuse of drugs at a significant level
  • with significant mental or physical health needs

You can get help by:

  • completing a request for support form

Find out more about level 4 specialist intervention

Effective support windscreen

You can find out more about the levels of support using the effective support windscreen of need on the Essex Safeguarding Children Board website.

Watch our windscreen of need video guidance for help deciding which level of support a child or young person needs.

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