Early Help Assessment
Using the Early Help Assessment (EHA)
The Early Help Assessment is a shared strength based assessment tool used in Children’s Services across England and Wales. It should inform all planning and frame all analysis around children and families who are identified as needing extra support. A preventative early help system is key especially when working with children with disabilities.
“Inclusion is the duty of the school’s leadership and it shouldn’t be a new educational initiative in any establishment. However, bringing all the services available together (even with the Early Help Assessment) is not always easy, especially as time goes on. Even with ‘established protocols’ and schedules, it may still require one agent to bring all the relevant parties together and ensure that agreed actions happen.”
The Early Help Assessment or EHA has replaced the CAF – Common Assessment Framework.
However EHA principles remain the same:
- consent based process
- assessment should be completed with the child/family
- should be used as an assessment of strengths and needs
- a support plan should be developed with the family and all agencies involved and regularly reviewed
It is a holistic approach which looks at the whole family and should clearly detail all aspects of what is working well, what is not working well and what needs to happen. An EHA facilitates discussion between professionals from different sectors and organisations who are working with the same child or family so that they communicate and work together more effectively. Setting up an EHA for a child or young person with a spinal cord injury can be a good way to coordinate the work of the large number of professionals now working with that child or young person.
The EHA is set up with the consent of the family and child or young person, who are all active participants in the process. It supports partnership with families, involvement of the child or young person and a systematic, integrated way of services working together for the benefit of the child. One professional becomes the ‘lead professional’ and initiates meetings and communication for the group. An EHA can be set up a for a limited time and closed when it is seen to be no longer necessary and the child’s needs have been sufficiently met.
To learn how to set up an EHA, contact your local council or Children’s Services department.
Information and supporting tools on setting up and facilitating a EHA (from different local council web sites):
For best practice in education settings:
This organisation offers useful downloads and example Early Help Assessment forms: