Early Help Strategy

Tuesday May 2023

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The Local Authority has published the Early Help Strategy for Children (aged from birth to 18) and their families; Our Vision for 2030 (‘Early Help Strategy’), which has been developed during 2022, working closely with colleagues across the Council and our key partners, and is designed to link into existing and developing strategies and plans. The foremost of which being the Children and Young People Plan 2021-24. The Early Help Strategy has been produced by the Council to illustrate the current position of early help across the borough, to set out a vision for the medium-term for the early help ecosystem across our borough, and to clarify to our families and professionals what is expected from early help and how it will support them.

By ‘early help’ we mean the total support that improves a family’s resilience and outcomes or reduces the chance of a problem getting worse. Our early help services are focused on providing the right help when our families need it, whatever the age of the child, from pre-birth all the way through the life of the child, at all life phases. Our early help approach is shaped around our commitment of shifting the balance of power, so our work is increasingly family-led and not led by practitioners. An element of this involves families being supported to come together to utilise their own resources and strengths to overcome their challenges.

Quality work with families already takes place across Bromley, day in and day out, by schools, health services, children and family centres, early years’ settings, community services, and a range of other partner agencies and services within the Council itself, all of which make a difference to children and families. The Local Authority has its own well-established and mature early help service, Early Intervention and Family Support, which includes a range of services such as the Bromley Children Project, Children and Family Centres, as well as other such as Target Youth Support.

This strategy is rightly ambitious for us and for our children. The targets we have set out describing what our early help offer will look in 2030 will challenge us; however, by working together with our partners, our families, and our children, we are confident that they can all be achieved. During the lifetime of this strategy, we will be working to achieve four interlocking ambitions. Each ambition is focused on one of the four quadrants that make up our early help model - our children, our families, our practitioners and our resources: Our four ambitions are:

  • Our children experience loving and safe homes with consistent and positive parenting which nurtures them and helps them flourish
  • Our families are informed about the range of services and support available to them, and how to use them when they need it, so they can be in control of their own lives
  • Our practitioners work within a culture that embraces relational and compassionate practice where the strengths of our families are understood and built upon
  • Our resources are focused on providing responsive, dynamic, and holistic integrated services across health, education and social care which identify need and provide support at the earliest opportunity to meet needs and prevent escalation of concern

We believe having a robust early help model, will support families to build resilience and develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to face challenges, learn from them, and have the self-efficacy to try to resolve and find workable solutions, we will reduce the potential additional burden on other services in the future. There will always be a need for support, information, guidance and intervention, but intervening early is more effective, cheaper and over time has the power to alter the future and to reduce the potential reliance of our current children and young people when they become adults and parents themselves.

There is always more that we can do, and early help cannot stand still. The need to evolve and develop, to look for and use available opportunities to expand the reach and range of support that can be offered is essential. Partnership working, across the Council, key partners and the wider workforce is required. A focus on being family-led and ‘needs-led’ where we are driven by what our families are telling us they need is essential to ensure our resources are best placed and not wasted, hence this Early Help Strategy.