Early Help service

In Southwark, we want to ensure that children, young people and families receive the best possible support at times of need in order to address and resolve issues rapidly and effectively. Sometimes a child, young person or family faces a number of different problems at the same time and requires more support to resolve them. Where needs are beyond the level that universal services can address, a range of targeted services are provided in partnership with others (eg early years’ settings, children’s centres, health professionals and the voluntary sector) to continue to assist a family to prevent problems from escalating.  

The Local Authority Services operating at a targeted level as part of the Early Offer are:

  • Early Help Localities Services (EHLS)
  • Specialist Family Focus Team (SFFT)

Both services adopt a whole family approach to their case working and the children’s/Young People’s wellbeing is central to their work.

Early Help Localities Services (EHLS)

The EHL Service has four multi agency locality-based teams and each team comprises of a Strategic Locality Lead, Family Support Officers, Educational Welfare Officers, CAMHS Specialists and Social Worker. A fifth Central team will have more specialist services focussed on safeguarding children with significant attendance issues and has a strategic Locality Lead and Senior Education Welfare Officers.

The teams link directly into Children’s Centres for early years’ intervention and support, and to primary and secondary schools providing support to families, on matters including attendance, exclusions, benefits and behaviour support.

Specialist Family Focus Team (SFFT)

SFFT focuses on the more complex cases which require intensive specialist support. It works with families to resolve family crisis. Supervised by a social work management team, the team comprises:

  • Outreach and Family Intervention Project keyworkers
  • Parenting Coordinators
  • Rapid Response Family Practitioners
  • Social Workers
  • a Adult Mental Health and Substance Misuse Nurse
  • a Specialist Community Nurse

The team work closely with Children’s Social Care and EHLS and have strong links with the voluntary sector and community services.

Making a referral

You'll need to complete the New Early Help Referral Form (docx, 631kb) for EHL or SFFT and send it to Earlyhelp@southwark.gov.uk.

Page last updated: 10 October 2017