How early help hub has supported 400 Calderdale children from 200 families

More than 400 children from more than 200 families have received timely support from an early help hub set up in Calderdale.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 9:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 9:50 am
Halifax town hall

The hub was formed in July 2020, providing an immediate response where families need help in a crisis, or where there is a risk of families breaking down, to reduce the need for a statutory intervention, avoiding problems escalating.

The service, which as well as the council involves partners ranging from the multi-agency screening team (MAST) to the police, has received good feedback from children and parents or carers and is producing the desired results, board members heard.

Briefing papers concluded: “The referrals received show a positive response.

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“Our data, the feedback from partners and families’ evidence demonstrate that this approach is meeting children’s and families needs at an earlier point and reducing demand on more costly intervention.”

Children and Young People’s Services Scrutiny Board Chair Coun Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe), after questioning and commenting on figures and findings in the report, said members were all in favour of families getting help early.

“These are fantastic outcomes.

“We have asked for this report because we have noticed this enormous decrease in children’s protection plans and want to see a link between this going down and the early help hub,” he said.

Coun Dot Foster (Lab, Sowerby Bridge) said: “It is a really, really valuable service – getting in there before more substantial measures are needed, such as taking children into care and so on.”

Rob Murray, the council’s Assistant Director for Early Intervention, said the directorate knew it had been successful and the outcomes were there.

It was not a totally new service but was working in a slightly different way and officers were thinking about how more could be invested into early health.

“We didn’t want to say this would solve everything – we wanted to test it out and we are getting really good outcomes,” he said.

Coun Raistrick asked why more budget was not being moved to support a service producing good results.

“If that’s what you believe in, make the case – we are outcome focussed and that’s where we should be,” he said.

MAST screen every referral and decide if the needs of the child and family can be met through a co-ordinated early help offer.

Cases are those which do not meet the threshold for social care involvement but where the right help is given at the right time, board members heard.

Early interventions, delivered by a number of the partners, range from signposting where people can get more help to providing more intensive support.

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