Practitioners should be alert to the potential need to undertake an Early Help Assessment in the following circumstances (NB: this is not an exhaustive list):
- A significant change or worrying feature in a child’s appearance, demeanour or behaviour has been observed.
- Showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect and /or sexual exploitation
- A significant event in a child’ life has occurred, or where there are worries about the parents, carers or home.
- Where a child, parent or another PR actioner has requested an assessment.
- Parental elements i.e. parental substance abuse/misuse, domestic abuse or physical or mental health issues which may impact on the welfare of the child.
- Developmental delay or making slower progress at school.
- Regularly missing medical appointments, immunisations etc.
- Disability with specific additional needs.
- Special educational needs
- The child Is a young carer
- Showing signs of engaging in anti-social behaviour, criminal behaviour or misusing substances
- Bereaved or experiencing family breakdown
- Bullied or are bullies themselves
- Disadvantages for reasons such as race, gender, sexuality, religious beliefs or disability
- Homeless or being threatened with eviction, and those living in temporary accommodation
- Becoming a teenage parent or is the child of teenage parents
- Not being ready to make the transition to post 16 services.
- Persistent absence from school or risk of permanent exclusion.
- The child/young person Is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as substance abuse, adult mental health, domestic violence and/or
- Is showing early signs of abuse and/or neglect and/or sexual exploitation.
Early Help services are also integral to cases stepping down out of Children’s Social Care services, to enable a lower level of help to be offered to reduce future need for high level support and statutory intervention.
However at any time during the Early Help Assessment process if it is considered that the child may be a child in need as defined in the Children Act 1989, or that the child has suffered significant harm or is likely to do so, a referral should be made to Lincolnshire Children’s Social Care.