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Children and Family Support Service (CFSS), Early Help and Support - NCT

Children and Family Support Service (CFSS), Early Help and Support - NCT logo


Early Help is when the Northamptonshire Children's Trust (NCT) works with families to ensure they receive the right help and support as soon as they need it. Early Help is for everybody, for families with children and young people of any age. And it's your choice whether to access it or not.

There are lots of reasons why you might want some support, including: 

  • Advice about your child's health, development, or behaviour 
  • How your child is progressing at school
  • Caring for a child with a disability or additional needs
  • Concerns you have about money or housing that is affecting your family
  • Help around domestic abuse, drugs, alcohol, or crime
  • Bereavement support
  • Being a young carer

Accessing Early Help

If you feel you and your family could benefit from some support, you can ask someone in your life that you trust. This might be a teacher at your child's school, your GP, your health visitor, your nursery practitioner, or your housing support worker. If you find this difficult, you can always contact NCT's Early Help Team directly, and they'll work with you to find someone you can talk to.

Sometimes, if someone is worried that you're having some problems, they might ask you if you would like to talk about Early Help.

The Early Help Process and Assessment

The Early Help Assessment (EHA) is a process designed to help you support your child.

The EHA can be used to support children and young people between 0 to 19 years, including unborn babies, and can also be used with consent up to the age of 24 (where a young person has a learning disability). ​

An EHA will help: 

  • Your child receive the right support before a small need grows into a larger one.
  • Create a shared assessment, so that you and your child will not have to repeat the same information to different workers.
  • Ensure that everyone involved with your child (such as teachers and health visitors) work together to support your child.

An Early Help Assessment (EHA) is a conversation where you can talk about things that are going well and things that you're proud of, as well as things that you're finding a challenge and where support can be put into place to help you. Throughout the process, you have control over who is involved. You will also be given a copy of the form, and be told who will see it, where it will be stored, and how it will be used.

You can request an EHA yourself or a professional can recommend your child or family. All professionals who work with children and young people in Northamptonshire can recommend support for your child or family.

NCT will talk with your child (or children) to make sure they understand how they are feeling and to see if there's anything they think they might want some help with.

For older children who feel able to discuss their situation on their own with the worker, it may be a young person's wish to keep information confidential from parents. This may be respected by the worker where this is in the young person's best interests.

What happens next will be different for every family. You might make a plan with the person you spoke with to sort out the problems. You might want to meet with other people who might be able to help. This is called a 'Team Around the Family' (TAF) meeting. Or you might want to get a service (like family support, therapy, or a children's centre) to give you the help you feel you need.

If you decide you'd like some support, the person you talked with will ask if they can share details of your conversation. You need to be happy with this and give your permission. This is to make sure the people supporting you can do a good job for you and understand the journey you and your family are on.

Sharing information

There may be times when the person you talked to must share information. This includes if they think:

  • A child is at risk of harm 
  • An adult is at risk of harm 
  • The information could help prevent or detect a serious crime

Social Care won't get involved unless one of these things happens, or the circumstances in your family change and become more serious.

The next steps

NCT can begin to complete an action plan based on the information you and your child provide. This may take place straight away or they may need to make some enquiries and contact you again.

If the action plan identifies that support is needed from other services, a team around the family (TAF) will be formed.

A TAF is a group of people who regularly meet with you to support your family. A member of the team around the family may be chosen as the lead professional.

How NCT use your information

The information which you and your child provide will only be shared with your consent. However, there may be times when the people working with you need to share information.

For example:

  • When they need to find out urgently if a child is at risk of harm
  • To help a child who is at risk of harm
  • When an adult is at risk of harm
  • To help prevent or detect a serious crime

Contacting Early Help

If you think an EHA may benefit you and your family, you can contact your midwife, your child's health visitor, children's centre, or school. For further advice and support, please email [email protected].

During the EHA process, your lead professional is the single point of contact if you need advice about your plan or what is happening next. You will be able to agree on who this will be at your TAF meeting. Your lead professional will share their contact details with you so that you can contact them directly.

  • Brackley Area
  • Corby Area
  • Daventry Area
  • East Northants Area
  • Kettering Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • Wellingborough Area
  • North Northamptonshire
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 0 to 19 years
Referral route
  • Education or School Referral
  • Professional Referral
For people with
Suitable for Everyone
Eligibility criteria
  • Age Range - School
  • Age Range - Early Years
  • Age Range - Adulthood
Provider category
Targeted Services - Additional Support Needs


c/o The Northamptonshire Children's Trust, One Angel Square, Angel Street
United Kingdom


Publication on the Local Offer does not endorse a provider, so please take reasonable steps to ensure that any service found on the Local Offer is suitable for your family member. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

Last updated 21 March 2024