Launch of new Threshold guidance aims to embed Early Help

The Somerset Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) is today launching new guidance for professionals and managers to make sure help is available for children, young people and families as soon as it’s needed.

The guidance aims to further establish the principles of Early Help for all those who support children, young people and their families in the County.

Early Help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges within a family, and is far more effective than reacting later. Embedding Early Help is one of the nine priorities for improving Children’s Services in Somerset.

The guidance, called “Effective support for children and families in Somerset”, aims to make existing Thresholds of Need clearer for professionals so they can identify if a child or family might need some help and support. Understanding when children and families might need support can ensure they are given the right service, in the right place, at the right time.

Professionals from across Somerset and from a number of different organisations are coming together today to find out more about the new document at a launch event.

Sally Halls, Chair of the SSCB, said: “Providing Early Help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children, young people and their families than reacting later. The message that is prominent throughout the new Threshold document is that children and families should receive the right service, in the right place, at the right time. An effective Early Help offer is the responsibility of all partners, so I am pleased that all partners have signed up to this document and will be using it during their work supporting children and families.”

In order to ensure the new Threshold guidance is properly embedded, a number of “train the trainer” sessions have been organised in February and March. This will ensure all agencies have staff within their organisation trained in Thresholds, who can then cascade their knowledge on to their colleagues in the context of their organisations.

To complement the launch of the Threshold document, a new phone line has been launched. The Children’s Safeguarding Leads’ Consultation Line, which is staffed by qualified social workers, will provide Safeguarding Leads in all agencies with support and advice if they are unsure whether or not they need to make a referral to Children’s Social Care.

The consultation line is not a short-cut to access Children’s Social Care, it is an advice service. If the social worker establishes that a referral to Children’s Social Care is required they will transfer the call to Somerset Direct so that a referral can be taken.

The new guidance can be found by visiting www.somerset.gov.uk/sscbthresholds