Right conversation, right people, right time

The foundation of our approach

Vulnerable Child is the term used in Leeds for a child or young person who is at risk of experiencing one or more poor outcomes without the provision of additional help or support to the child and / or their family.

Early Help is the term used by agencies in Leeds to describe our approach to providing support to potentially vulnerable children, young people and their families as soon as problems start to emerge or when there is a strong likelihood that problems will emerge in the future.

Children and families are entitled to early help if and when they need it.

The purpose of Early Help is, through prompt and targeted interventions, to prevent issues and problems becoming acute, chronic and costly to the child, young person, the family and the wider community.

Although research shows that the most impact can be made during a child’s early years, Early Help is not just for very young children as problems may emerge at any point throughout childhood and adolescence.

Early Help may be provided through an increase in the levels of universal services, or services provided or commissioned in clusters; this includes family support provided by schools and third sector services.

We use a range of conversation opportunities to identify appropriate support for the child and their family. Anybody working with children, young people and families is responsible for starting conversations for children and families.  When practitioners are concerned that a child is at risk of, or experiencing significant harm, they must contact the Duty and Advice Team.

Our Early Help Approach is underpinned by the principles of Restorative Practice and Early Support. Restorative Practice is a way of behaving which helps to build and maintain healthy relationships, resolve difficulties and repair harm where there has been conflict. Early Support principles aim to enable disabled children to be supported to lead a normal life.

We will support the development of capacity, resilience and independence of families by building on their strengths and enabling them to identify their own solutions and take responsibility for their future.


Working Together to Safeguard Children Chapter 1:

Early Help

  1. Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life from the foundation years through to the teenage years
  2. Effective early help relies upon local agencies working together to:
  • Identify children and families who would benefit from Early Help
  • Undertake an assessment of the need for early help; and provide targeted early help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child. Local authorities under s10 children Act 2004 have a responsibility to promote inter-agency cooperation to improve the welfare of children


For further information on Early Help:

For support in registering or completing an Early Help Assessment contact 0113 378 1840 (option 1)


Documents available for you to print off: