Early Help - What is it in Doncaster?

Early Help is a way of thinking and working together as services with families that have additional or more complex needs.

Early Help for your family - getting the right help and support for your family at the right time

What is Early Help?

Early Help is a way of getting extra help and support when your family needs it, but getting it as soon as difficulties start, rather than waiting until things get worse. It’s for children and young people of any age and their family. Help can come from all kinds of services and organisations who work together to support your family. You might be using some of these services already, but we want to make sure they are providing the right support for you and your family’s needs. 

Why would I seek early help?

It could be that you’re worried about your child’s health, development or behaviour, or perhaps because you are caring for a disabled child. Maybe you, your child or your whole family are affected by relationships within the family, drugs or alcohol or you are experiencing personal distress or anxiety, financial or housing problems. By getting help from the right services at the right time, and as early as possible, we can help prevent or reduce potential problems for children as they grow up. Our leaflet in the link below explains more about the help available to you and so does our video at the bottom of this page. 

Parent Carer Leaflet Early Help
Download (4.14MB - PDF)


  Diverse family sketch


Outcomes we'd like to help your family achieve: 

  • Getting a good education
  • Good early years development
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Promoting recovery and reducing harm from substance use
  • Improved family relationships
  • Children safe from abuse and exploitation
  • Crime prevention and tackling crime
  • Safe from domestic abuse
  • Secure housing
  • Financial stability

Who do I ask?

  • Chat with a teacher, health professional or support worker, they can arrange help for you
  • Phone or pop into one of the Your Family Triage's, they can provide you with Local Help or arrange Early Help for you 
  • Pop into your Family Hub -they can provide support or arrange Early Help for you
  • Or phone Early Help Hub within Doncaster Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub: 01302 734110

Family Hubs

Doncaster Family Hubs are the 'place to go'. We work with other providers to offer a range of activities, services and information for you and your family. Families are welcome with children of all ages from conception, through childhood to adolescence and even older if your child has a special need. 

Think of any service you may need from day care and early learning to schools and education; from midwives to health visitors and mental health; from advice on parenting to family support and adult learning to employment opportunities.

Central, Balby, Wheatley, Cantley, Bessacarr, Intake, Belle Vue
East: Armthorpe, Stainforth, Moorends, Dunscroft, Hatfield, Barnby Dun, Edenthorpe, Kirk Sandall, Thorne
South: Conisbrough, Denaby, Rossington, Mexborough, Edlington, Finningley, Torne Valley 
North: Bentley, Adwick, Askern, Carcroft, Highfields, Scawsby, Sprotbrough


Your Family Locality Triage

Families and residents may need advice and guidance or additional help from services in the community such as health, St Leger Homes, Police and many more who all work together on issues in your community. The teams know and understand the communities they work in. The teams work well together to support families with swift action when families, residents, or professionals have asked for help. Staff will have conversations with families, other professionals, and the Your Place team to ensure their response meets local needs and expectations. Your Place teams will respond without delay to identify the best way to provide an appropriate solution. This will happen quickly, with clear communication and without the need for assessment or formal pathways.

Civic Office,Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU, 01302 736409, 


East: TheVermuyden Centre,Fieldside,Thorne, DN8 1DA, 


South: Conisbrough Community Library, Old Road,Conisbrough, DN12 3ND, 


North: Woodlands Library, Windmill Balk Lane, Woodlands, DN6 7SB, 


Online Self-Help

Family's Information Service:
Families Information Service provides information, advice and guidance for parents, carers, practitioners, children and young people on a wide range of services and activities/events available in Doncaster and beyond.

Your Life Doncaster:

Find information and support for adults, young people and children to live happy, healthy lives, and discover what is available in your local communities.

How do we work with you?

We work together with you whenever you need our support, and we don’t judge. There is a huge range of services around Doncaster but it’s not always obvious which ones are available to you or how to find them. While every family is different, the way we work is really straightforward. When you need some support for yourself or your child, we work with you to help you make an Early Help enquiry. This enquiry will allocate you a lead practitioner who is likely to be someone you already know. They will work with you to understand your family’s needs. This is known as an Early Help Assessment which helps us speed up your access to almost any service. When you start the Early Help process, you’re on the path to getting support with any problem you might be facing. Early Help is available at any point in a child’s life, from pregnancy through to adolescence (and up to age 24 for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities)

  Early Help for your family logo   

What happens when I agree to Early Help Support?

After speaking with someone about your worries/concerns an Early Help Enquiry will be made to either Local Help or to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub. This information is then screened by to identify the best person and organisation to become your family’s Lead Practitioner. As a parent or carer, you will need to sign a consent form so that your details can be shared to ensure we find the right person to support you, and that you only have to share your story once.

Lead Practitioner

A Lead Practitioner will work alongside you and will be your main contact while you need early help support. Your Lead Practitioner will be the person who will arrange appointments with you, your family and will bring in the other service who might be able to help you and your family. All services in Doncaster are part of Early Help and lots of difference professionals can hold the Lead Practitioner Role – for example schools, GPs, housing, health visitors, mental health workers, family lead practitioners and family support workers. Your Lead Practitioner should be somebody who knows you and your family well and is able to build a trusting relationship with you. Your Lead Practitioner will support your family and they will coordinate an Early Help Assessment, a Whole Family Plan and Team Around the Family meetings where needed

What is an Early Help Assessment?

An Early Help Assessment is a form completed in partnership with a family to identify strengths and needs. An Early Help Assessment can help practitioners to identify what a family would like to change and to develop a Whole Family Action Plan. You will be fully involved and we will listen to you. Your children will also be encouraged to discuss their needs and have their voice heard during the assessment. There are other tools that are used in Doncaster to support the Early Help Assessment such as Family Star Plus, My Star or the Graded Care Profile 2. These tools and more support your Lead Practitioner to identify the strengths and needs for your family.

Whole Family Plan   

         Black woman reading book to child  

Once the Early Help Assessment is completed you, your family and the lead practitioner will have identified what is working well, what you are worried about and what needs to happen next. The Whole Family Plan will focus on what needs to happen next. This plan should be reviewed regularly, to ensure everybody is working towards achieving the best outcomes for you and your family.

Team around the Family

Once you have agreed the plan, some of the support your family needs may require other services input, for example a midwife, a teacher, job centre, housing officer or a family support worker. Your Lead Practitioner will talk with you and arrange the team who will support you in the family meetings. The Lead Practitioner can call a Team around the Family meeting, which brings you, your family and all of the services working with your family, around the table to re-assess, review and amend the plan. All members of the family can attend these meetings and it is really important that your children have a voice at these meetings. They can attend in their own right, or speak to somebody the trust to ensure the right help is being provided for them and to ensure their views and wishes are being considered.

What happens when I stop receiving Early Help with a Lead Practitioner?

We want you to become confident and able to find your own solutions for your family. You can continue to use all services that have open access to families and children, and access local help if needed, but, if your circumstances change and you need further help you can ask for it at any time.

  Young teenage boy with headphones on  

Information for older children and young people

If you are a child or aged under 18 and have worries or concerns, you can contact the Early Help team yourself who will be able to answer any of your questions or support you in any way you would like: 01302 734110 You can also call ChildLine for free where you can get help and advice about a wide range of issues and there is always someone to talk to, whatever you are worried about: 0800 1111 Always call 999 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.


Referral to Early Help

Parents can make a referral to Early Help here

Anyone else supporting a family can also make a referral here but consent from the family is necessary first.

Last updated: 22 February 2024 11:29:28

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