Family Early Help (FEHA and CAF)

What is Early Help?

Every family has its ups and downs. Being a parent is hard work and there are no instructions. Sometimes, you or your children may need extra support. This may be before your children are born, when very young, or throughout school. Early help supports you to recognise what's going well for you, where you may benefit from extra help, and who will help you. This is usually called a Family Early Help Assessment (FEHA). A Family Early Help Assessment is a way of getting a picture about the whole family and using it to help you see what is working well and what areas could do with a bit of extra support.

How does it work?

If you decide you would like a FEHA, a worker will speak with you about your family to look at what is going well and where you may benefit from some extra support. This worker is called a Lead Practitioner. They'll talk to you about if there is anyone else involved in supporting you and your family; this could be universal services such as your child's school, or more specialist services. With your permission, the Lead Practitioner will speak to anyone supporting your family to gather information and discuss how you can all work together to support you and your children. The information gathered will help to set some targets for both you and the people working with your family. The FEHA is a voluntary process and can only happen with your permission. 

A team around the family meeting will then be arranged where everyone comes together to make a support plan. This is reviewed regularly to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place. Your Lead Practitioner will arrange the review meetings but also will be someone you can speak to at any point about any concerns or issues that you and your family are experiencing. You should have a say in who your Lead Practitioner is. It could be anyone working with you or your children.

The benefits of a FEHA

  • It gets everyone working together on the same plan to help you.
  • It shows what’s going well and not so well for your family.
  • It can help you see what support you might need.
  • It saves you having to repeat yourself.
  • It creates a “snapshot” of your family’s circumstances.
“Completing a FEHA made me feel a weight off my shoulders”

“I would say to anyone, do it, it helps you to see how best you can change for the good, it’s there to help”.

What happens to the assessment?

If you have agreed that you'd like a FEHA, it will be logged on the database held by the Local Area Team. If a worker contacts the Local Area Team with your consent, a LAT Worker can tell them who is working with you so that all can work together.

You will get copies of your assessment, plan and review throughout. The assessment is yours; your views on what life is like for your child and family, and how you are finding the support process should be included throughout.

Local Area Team

If you hear someone mention the Local Area Team, they are talking about a team in the council who help workers to help families who need a bit of extra support. Your worker might mention the LAT as they have a database which shows who is working with your family and this can be very helpful to get a big picture of what is happening in your family to see how best to support you.

If someone from the Local Area Team contacts you it is because you have given permission to speak to someone about what extra support you might want or feel that could help your family. The LAT worker will then, with your consent, talk to other workers to put support in place for your family and may suggest a FEHA.

If you would like to find out more about a Family Early Help Assessment or Local Area Team, contact 01904 554444 or

Family Focus

If you have a FEHA, the Local Area Team will invite you to be part of the Family Focus Programme. This helps bring additional support to your family as part of the FEHA process. You can speak to your Lead Practitioner for more details.


Useful documents


York Family Information Service

01904 554444