A Family Early Help Assessment (FEHA) is a tool used to assess the needs of children, young people and families to determine the need for early help, and the actions to be taken to improve outcomes, based on a holistic view of the needs of the family. This tool takes you step-by-step through a clear process of information gathering, analysis and action planning.
The FEHA is not just a form; it's a process which allows practitioners to assess needs, identify service delivery requirements and check that needs are being addressed as part of a structured framework. A FEHA is voluntary and should be only be undertaken with consent from the young person or family.
Agencies have a responsibility to work together to assess, plan and support families to prevent problems escalating to the point where statutory intervention becomes necessary.
Nobody can do this alone. In order to gather good quality information, the person coordinating the assessment should gather information from a variety of sources, including parents/carers, children and young people in the family, other family members, appropriate friends and any professionals involved with the family. Each of these people will hold different pieces of information which will contribute to the whole assessment. This means that families won’t have to keep repeating themselves and the right support can be identified quickly.
If you are considering completing a FEHA, please contact the MASH Early Help Coordinators on 551900 option 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if anyone else is working with the family or has completed, or is thinking about completing, an assessment, so you can work together.
If you feel a family would benefit from an assessment of their needs, and the family has consented to a FEHA, the first stage of the process is information gathering. As a practitioner, you should talk with families about:
You should also gather information from any agencies working with the family. You then record the information using the Family Early Help Assessment form.
The next stage of the process is analysing the information you have gathered. This will help inform your action plan.
A copy of the assessment is given to the child/young person/family and other practitioners, where necessary. With the consent of the family you will notify the MASH Early Help Coordinators on 551900 option 2 or email@example.com, that you have completed an assessment and that you will send a copy of that assessment to the Local Area Team.
You can use the FEHA leaflet to assist in talking with families about what the assessment will mean to them.
The assessment can be used to identify what other support the family may require and it can be shared with partner agencies to explain what support is needed. Everyone involved can then meet together with the child/young person/family and talk about what happens next. Each person including the family members decide what actions need to be completed and by whom, to improve the situation. This will be at a time and place that is convenient to all. At this meeting the Lead Practitioner may be agreed if not already identified.
The assessment will be reviewed and actions updated using the FEHA Review form until a plan is no longer needed because all needs have been met. During this time, services and the lead practitioner may change as the situation changes. On closure, the FEHA Closure form should be completed.
Please see Lead Practitioner page to find out more about the role.
The Local Area Team is able to provide advice and support throughout the Family Early Help Assessment process. Whether it is the first time you have coordinated a FEHA, you have a particularly complex family to support or you would like advice at any stage of the process, we can help! You can contact the Local Area Teams and speak to one of the MASH Early Help Coordinators on 01904 551900 option 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org