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Thresholds document & Early Help

Accessing Services for Children in Buckinghamshire – Thresholds Document

To ensure that we all take responsibility for safeguarding children and considering their welfare, we want to identify vulnerable children and young people as early as possible, and work in a coordinated and integrated way to help them before things reach crisis point. We also want to ensure that children who are being abused or who are at risk of significant harm, are promptly referred to Children’s Social Care. The Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board has published a Thresholds document which helps identify when a child may need additional support to reach their full potential. This is described through four levels of need:

  • Level 1 – children whose needs are met within universal services
  • Level 2 – children with additional needs showing early signs of vulnerability requiring early help
  • Level 3 – children in need who require statutory or specialist services and targeted early help
  • Level 4 – children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm

Thresholds Document Sept 2015

Thresholds Guidance – Nov 2015

Referral Flowchart

Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) – For those that do not have access to a secure email account, there are two options for sending the MARF securely:

  • Password protect the form and send the password in a separate email
  • Email initially without personal details. A Contact and Referral Officer will then send you an encrypted email which you can use to send the MARF securely 

Safeguarding cards for professionals and volunteers

Alongside our Thresholds document and referral flowchart, we have now developed some additional tailored resources to help professionals understand what to do if they have a concern about a child.

  • Fold up wallet sized card detailing the 3 steps laid out in the referral flowchart: Consult, Consent and Contact at each level of need. This is for more mobile workers who need easy access to information on thresholds and how they should respond to a concern about a child dependent upon the level of need.
  • Credit sized card for workers who have less frequent contact with vulnerable children/young people, simply stating safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and to contact your line manager/safeguarding lead in the event of a concern about a child.

Contact Carol Gorley (cgorley@buckscc.gov.uk) for copies of the cards, referral flowchart or laminated Thresholds documents

There is also a pdf of the Consult, Consent and Contact cards which you can print out as a tri fold leaflet (print landscape rather than portrait and tick the ‘flip on short edge’ box and then it will print the right way).

Early Help

What is Early Help and why is it necessary?

Early Help is about ensuring that children and families receive the support they need at the right time.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) defines Early Help as:

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.

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.

Partnership working to support families to access Early Help

The Early Help Strategy sets out a multi-agency partnership approach to coordinating Early Help for children and families. The aim is to engender a commitment to Early Help, embedding an understanding of thresholds and appropriate levels of action across agencies; to work together to ensure that children and families receive the support they need at the right time.

The Early Help Strategy asks all multi-agency partners to work within the principles of Early Help by:

  • Embedding the Thresholds document within their organisational processes;
  • Engendering cultural change within the workforce, embedding the principles of Early Help into training and working with the agreed Early Help approach;
  • Ensuring appropriate and timely information sharing takes place;
  • Providing evidence of their contribution to the impact of the Early Help Strategy.

Further Information

Early Help Strategy – Nov 2015

Buckinghamshire Family Information ServiceTheir website has a directory of organisation that can provide support at different levels (click on the Early Help tab) or call 01296 383065.