Early Help vision and principles
Early help is a way of supporting people to avoid problems, or to deal with them before they get worse. Problems may emerge at any point during childhood and adolescence
Solihull’s early help strategy sets out the vision and the priorities for change in order to develop the delivery of early help within Solihull.
The early help model beings together individuals, people providers, groups and organisations, direct work, community provision and community capacity working across five collaborative areas in a needs-led flexible and holistic approach.
The concept of early help, or early intervention as it is sometimes known, reflects the widespread recognition that it is better to identify and deal with problems early rather than to respond when difficulties have become acute and demand action by more expensive services.
There is now strong evidence identifying factors that place children at risk of neglect or abuse, of developing mental health problems, of failing in education, or of becoming involved in crime or anti-social behaviour. These negative outcomes are not only damaging to the children or young people concerned, to their families and the communities where they live, but also result in significant costs to the state.
The Early Help model has been developed to ensure long term sustainability and community empowerment, with an aim for families to be helped at the earliest point, improving children and young people’s life chances and reducing demand for crisis services.
The team is in place and the implementation for children, young people and families has begun.
Our vision is to make Solihull an early help place by helping families at the earliest point, improving children and young people’s life chances and reducing demand for crisis services.
Our vision will be built on the following principles:
- Causes not symptoms
Sustainable positive change for individuals depends on tackling the causes of problems rather than constantly seeking to deal with the presenting symptoms – providing a fishing rod instead of fish to tackle poverty. This reinforces a culture of independence.
- Lives not services
Early help organisations are made up of staff who practice early help. This means focusing on quality of relationships with, and quality of life for families, not just managing risk and reducing harm. It means constructive team working between the organisations, communities and families, providing personalised, integrated and caring support, and making every relationship count.
- Families and communities can deliver earlier help
Early help has the best chance of success where individuals and their families feel supported to find their own solutions to the issues facing them. This help often comes from within the family or community, and much earlier than help from statutory services. Families and communities are also better at finding personalised low cost solutions which are easier to sustain over time.
- Early childhood help
Help in the first three years of life is an investment that pays back for a lifetime, and offers a chance to break intergeneration cycles of poor outcomes.
- Not all help is equal
The measure of early help is the outcome, not the effort, and some interventions have more impact than others. This means investing in programmes which have an evidence base, or building an evidence base where none exists. It also means fidelity, applying evidence based programmes in the way that they have been designed and evaluated.