Family Early Help (FEHA and CAF)

Parents guide to 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. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help. Early help supports you to recognise what's going well for you, where you may benefit from extra help, and who will lead this. This might be known as Family Early Help Assessment (FEHA). Someone working with your family might mention completing a FEHA to help your family.

What actually is it?

An 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.

It is a voluntary process and can only happen with your permission. A worker will sit with you to gather information and details of other agencies involved in supporting your family. With your permission, people from different organisations working with your family will share information to work together to help support you and your children. This could be school, health visitor, mentor, nursery, etc. The information gathered will help to set some targets for both you and the people working with your family.

A team around the family meeting will then be arranged where everyone comes together to make a support plan. This is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place. At this meeting, a lead practitioner will be identified who 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.

The lead practitioner can be anyone who works with your family. You are asked who you would like to take this role: it may be a worker you see most often, or find most approachable. It doesn't have to be the worker who undertakes the assessment with you at the start.

Here are some leaflets that explain it a little bit more:

Family Early Help Assessment - A guide for Parents and Carers

Family Early Help Assessment - A Young Person's Guide

Early Help Assessment:

  • Gets everyone working together on the same plan to help you.
  • Shows what’s going well and not so well for your family.
  • Can help you see what support you might need.
  • Saves you having to repeat yourself.
  • Creates a “snapshot” of your family’s circumstances.
“Completing CAF 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?

Once you agree to family early help, it will be logged on the database held by the Children’s Advice Team. If a worker contacts the Children’s Advice Team with your consent, a Children’s Advice 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.

Children’s Advice Team

If you hear someone mention the Children’s Advice 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 Advice Team 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 Advice 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 Advice worker will then, with your consent talk to other workers to put support in place for your family and may suggest a FEHA.

The Children's Advice Team - A guide for Families leaflet can provide more information about how the Children's Advice Team can help.