Early Support aims to improve the way that services work with disabled children and their families, keeping families and children at the centre of decision making and putting their needs first.
Who is Early Support for?
Children from birth until the end of Reception year at Primary school, who have significant and complex additional needs or disability, and require on-going specialist support from across education, health and care. This includes children who have great difficulty communicating, have sensory, learning or physical difficulties and/or complex health needs. All will need additional support with many aspects of their daily lives and it is probable that there will be a lifelong impact on their development and learning.
What is Early Support?
As for all children and families in Cambridgeshire who need to have several services involved to support their needs, we work in a Think Family way. This ensures there is:
- one thorough family assessment; the principle method for this in Cambridgeshire is the Early Help Assessment
- one family support plan; which is developed and reviewed by parents and professionals together at multi-agency Team Around the Family meetings. This enables services to co-ordinate support which avoids duplication
- one lead professional; who is decided with you and can be any of the professionals who work with your child or family. They are a first point of contact and support planning and coordination of services, ensuring you have the information you need, and helping your child and family use local services e.g. Child and Family Centres, health services, play groups.
In addition there are two Early Support coordinators (plus a third position currently vacant) who can be contacted by parents and professionals; they support the administration of Early Support and assist lead professionals by:
- being the central contact point to coordinate referrals to Early Support from practitioners such as health workers, social care or early years settings
- helping coordinate assessment, planning, services and sharing information for children known to Early Support, and their family
- being a source of knowledge of available services, support, information and Early Support resources
- supporting arrangements for Team Around the Family meetings, ensuring Family Support Plans are developed, reviewed and updated
- supporting transition planning such as from and into health, Early Years settings, entry to school or to other areas and services
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