Early help assessment and plan

This article provides information for parents and carers on the Early Help Assessment and Plan.

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A guide for parents and carers

The Early Help Assessment and Plan (often shortened to ‘EHAP’) is designed to help families and professionals work together to support children and young people achieve the best possible start in life, thrive and be prepared for a successful adult life.

‘Early Help’ covers a wide range of support; from pregnancy and support with very young children to help with teenagers and parenting as soon as possible when things are not going well. This support works best when everyone works together.

The Early Help Assessment and Plan encourages everyone involved to develop an understanding of a family’s strengths and challenges. It considers the support needed in all areas that affect a child’s development – from health, education and social development through to housing, family relationships and employment.

How an EHAP works

  1. A ‘Lead Practitioner’ who is usually someone you already know and you feel comfortable with, will have a conversation with you about what you feel needs to change.
  2. The Early Help Assessment and Plan is used to guide the Lead Practitioner to ask the right questions to help them understand and record what is happening, what needs to change and who can help.
  3. They may suggest that a meeting is set up with you, your family and other people such as a teacher or health professional; it is sometimes called a ‘Team around the Family’ or ‘Team around the Child’. This is considered a good way to share ideas together, solve problems and plan what to do. An action plan and goals will be agreed where all parties will work together to help you as a whole family.
  4. You will review the plan and goals together on a regular basis (approximately 6 weekly to start with) to check what is working well and make changes where needed.
  5. Help from other services may be sought, if the Team Around the Family, especially you, feel it is required. As part of the process, families are asked to agree to share their personal information with professionals, in order to discover what could change to meet the needs of their children.

How an EHAP can help

There has been a lot of national and international research over the past few years about what can and should be done to ensure children flourish; the Early Help Assessment and Plan has been developed taking into account this research. You can find more information about how and why Early Help works in South Gloucestershire’s Early Help Strategy 2019-2024 or you can visit the Early Intervention Foundation website.

Help and support

For advice, support and information, please contact Compass:

For advice, support and information for families with children and young people who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities, please visit South Gloucestershire council's Local Offer.