Helping Early in Sutton

Helping early is about the right support at the right time. It is for any child or young person (pre-birth - 25 years of age) who are experiencing things that are starting to feel difficult.

It is about feeling ok to ask for support at that time, and professionals listening and responding in the most helpful way. 

If you want to find out more about our approach and priorities please read the strategy, which is available to view and download at the end of this page.

There’s someone I’d like to get help at an early point, what do I do and where do I go?

If you’re not sure, check the LSCP Threshold guidance for referral and assessment. This enables us to understand changing levels of need and to identify when children and young people require referrals for statutory assessment. 

If the threshold is above 2, please refer directly into the Children’s First Contact Service (CFCS). This will mean that your referral will be seen by a safeguarding team to best respond. 

For more information on the service and to access the referral form, please follow this link

At an early stage of support, you might be looking at support from a volunteer befriender, school nurse, children centre services, health visitors, pastoral worker in school, GP, charities, children’s wellbeing practitioner etc. It might also be about accessing a support group, parenting groups, employment and housing, or activities in the local community.

1. The first best step - have a conversation

  • If you are a family member/friend - contact the family hub connectors to have a conversation. They will be able to give you up to date information about what is available.
  • If you are a professional - contact an Early Help Coordinator for a conversation in the first instance:  call 0208 770 6001.

2. What tools you can use with a young person, parent/carer to understand the context, priority needs

The Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) is an assessment tool used to fulfil statutory duties towards children and young people under Working Together 2023. It is designed to help practitioners develop a shared understanding of a child or young person's needs so that they can be met quickly and effectively. 

To access the Early Help assessment guidance and templates follow this link: EHAT guidance and assessment templates.

Before undertaking a Early Help assessment it is important to find out if one has already been completed or started and if there is a Lead Professional, or if Social Services are involved. To do this, or for any other query, contact the Early Help Co-ordinator on 0208 770 6001.

How we work

In Sutton, we want to promote connection, reflection, curiosity and kindness in the way we work with one another. We know that complicated processes, waiting times, can be frustrating and unhelpful for families. The best way for us to keep addressing this at a practice level is to keep connecting with each other. At a system level, we have put in place a Children’s Delivery Board that sets the tone for system change around our services for children and families. 

We need to keep improving pathways of support for children, young people and families. Please help us by staying connected with other services and practitioners, linked in with the LSCP, accountable and listening to the families you support. 

If you are new to the Borough or new to early intervention work, please connect with others, and be part of shaping the culture in our services for children, young people and families. It will make a difference to the families you support. 

How do I connect with others?

Come along to a helping early induction coffee & chat session. They are informal, friendly and a chance to meet others working for families in Sutton - book your place here:

Come along to our virtual helping early practice networks, running once every 8 weeks and a chance to reflect together on specific themes. See what is coming up and book your place here:

Not sure what services are out there? In the first instance, speak with a family hub connector who can understand who you might most need to know and help you understand what sort of services are in the area for the families you work with. Call 020 8770 6000 or if you need to email you can use:

Sutton's Helping Early Strategy

Sutton's Helping Early Strategy 2023-27 can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. The strategy, underpinned by Working Together 2023, seeks to address the needs of children and families in Sutton through coordinating the right kind of help and support, at the right time, with the community.

The strategy sets out:

  • Sutton's Helping Early approach;
  • Learning from evidence and insights: the needs of children, young people and families in Sutton;
  • What Helping Early will look like in Sutton; and
  • How Sutton will be accountable.