This topic area covers statistics and information relating to Hull’s Early Help and Prevention Programme including local strategic need and service provision. Further information relating to Schools, Education and Qualifications is given under Health and Wellbeing Influences. Information relating to Children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities is under Health Factors under Children and Young Children. Further information on early help in relation to mental health and emotional wellbeing is given in Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Among Children and Young People under Health Factors within Children and Young People. Further information relating to domestic abuse is given within Domestic Abuse under Health and Wellbeing Influences.
- Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances.
- The majority of children in Hull lead happy and healthy lives, are part of loving families who take good care of them and support them to reach their potential. All children in Hull deserve the best possible start in life but unfortunately there are some who face disadvantages that affect their development, which impacts on their future potential, health and happiness. Providing ‘Early Help’ plays a vital part in offering these children and their families the support they need to reach their potential and keep them safe.
- In 2019/20, there were 8,000 referrals for Early Help services (across all ages not just early years). The most common reason was drop down from Children’s Social Care (38%), parenting issues (9.4%), family dysfunction (9.1%), child with disability or complex needs (6.2%), young person mental or emotional health (5.6%), housing or homelessness (lone young person) (4.7%), parental mental or emotional health (4.6%) and domestic abuse (4.1%).
The Population Affected – Why Is It Important?
Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The majority of children in Hull lead happy and healthy lives, are part of loving families who take good care of them and support them to reach their potential. All children in Hull deserve the best possible start in life but unfortunately there are some who face disadvantages that affect their development, which impacts on their future potential, health and happiness. Providing ‘Early Help’ plays a vital part in offering these children and their families the support they need to reach their potential and keep them safe.
Marmot in his strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010 stated that parents are the most important ‘educators’ of their children for both cognitive and non-cognitive skills. He also stated that parental involvement in their child’s reading has been found to be the most important determinant of language and emergent literacy.
Literacy is the combination of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills we all need to fulfil our potential. These life skills are essential to the happiness, health and wealth of individuals and society. Fourteen percent of children and young people in lower income homes rarely or never read their books for pleasure. One in five parents easily find the opportunity to read to their children, with the rest struggling to read to their children due to fatigue and busy lifestyles.
Analysis of data from the Millennium Cohort Study suggests that parents who combine high levels of parental warmth with high levels of supervision are more likely to have children at age five who are more confident, autonomous and empathic. On the other hand, a ‘disengaged’ parenting style is associated with poorer outcomes for children in terms of qualifications, relationship problems, unemployment and becoming teenage parents.
As well as good home learning environment, early years’ education is very important. The original Sure Start Children’s Centres programme was based on evidence that effective early intervention prevented costs to society later on. Locally-led community-based programmes can engage those families who might not otherwise seek help. Pre-school shows a significant positive effect on early cognitive outcomes for all levels of quality and duration compared to none. Furthermore, having long pre-school experience has greater benefit on literacy outcomes, whatever the quality, although long good quality pre-school had the greatest effects on early outcomes and at age 11 (test scores and social and behavioural outcomes).
Ensuring children are ready for school and can achieve good levels of education is essential for them to achieve well-paid satisfying regular employment, increase resilience, and improve health and wellbeing. Children living in more deprived areas are more likely to grow up thinking that poverty, poor housing, and unemployment are the norm, which could result in cyclic behaviours with these children behaving as their parents do as they reach adulthood. Early intervention in childhood can help reduce physical and mental health problems and prevent social dysfunction being passed from one generation to the next.
Following the Children and Families Act 2014, children and young people (under the age of 25 years) who have special educational needs may have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, developed by all professionals and the family working together, to address all needs that a child or young person has within education, health and care.
The national definition of Early Help is: “The total support that improves a family’s resilience and outcomes, or reduces the chance of a problem getting worse”. As the national definition says, effective Early Help services can prevent problems from occurring and can tackle them head on when they do, before problems get worse. It also helps to build resilience in families, developing strength and skills that prepare children for adult life and help families to cope better with the challenges life throws at them.
The Hull Picture
Across Hull over all child age groups, there were 8,000 referrals for Early Help in 2019/20 with almost four in ten being drop down referrals from Children’s Social Care.
In 2019/20, the following occurred through the Early Help programme:
- Family Star assessments undertaken on 3,182 people (1,264 adults and 1,918 children) with 2,026 families with an open episode in Early Help.
- A total of 2,554 universal episodes undertaken (home safety, introduction to services, etc).
- There are 35,884 children registered across Early Help.
- There were 5,365 attendees at sessions at Children’s Centres.
- There were 51 parenting courses delivered.
- In total, 502 people accessed parenting courses 2,600 times.
- HeadStart Hull provided mental health support to 1,538 young people and 685 parents.
- There were 2,377 transitions from Children’s Social Care.
The following chart illustrates the outcomes of children who had a family star undertaken with them in 2019/20.
Early Help Children’s Centres are a core part of the Early Help Delivery Model across Hull. There are eight Children’s Centres across the city, three of which are the Early Help Locality Hubs as shown in the map below.
The Healthy Lifestyles Team ran 20 different types of group activities in the year 2019/20 and there were 67 different activities carried out in total. Overall, 1,652 people attended these sessions (seen on 7,186 occasions).
There are also senior Early Help family support workers providing parenting courses. Outcomes were improved particularly in relation to wellbeing, meeting emotional needs, family routines, and boundaries and behaviours.
Strategic Need and Service Provision
As a good education is very important for future health and wellbeing, it is essential that children are ready for school, and children and young people are able to maximise their achievements whilst at school, college and university, so that they can have good employment prospects. Children potentially requiring additional support should be assessed as quickly as possible as early help gives rise to better outcomes. Children with an Education and Health Care plan or in receipt of Special Educational Needs support need to have clear, comprehensive, integrated plans drawn up as soon as possible, with all professionals and the family working together to give the child the best possible care and support. There should also be promotion of physical and mental wellbeing across all educational settings.
Therefore it is essential that children and families requiring help can access the right help quickly. It is also imperative that service providers as part of their routine visits and child assessments seek out children and families who require help as not all those who require help will ask for help.
The Early Help and Prevention programme takes many forms from community support from family and friends, local businesses and community organisations; universal services such as nurseries; schools; GPs; midwives and Health Visitors, through to more targeted services. Some services will play a role in the provision of both a universal and targeted offer such as our Children’s Centres who provide a universal offer open to all but have a targeted approach through a referral based family support offer. The Police, Health Visitors and Youth Service also offer both universal and targeted support, using their universal offer to identify risk early and follow up with more targeted support where necessary. Some services will be specifically targeted to certain vulnerable groups such as young people and adults dealing with substance misuse, housing issues, or requiring mental health support etc. There are also targeted programmes in schools to improve children’s social and emotional skills and other issues. Evidence clearly shows that early intervention has the strongest impact during the first few years of life. It is also true that effective interventions can improve children’s life chances at any point during childhood and into adolescence.
Collaborative working between Early Help and Prevention services and children’s social care is crucial to support seamless transitions for families into and out of statutory child protection services, ensuring families receive the right support, in the right place and at the right time. In Hull, these relationships continue to develop and systems mature which ensure we prevent as many families as possible from entering or re-entering the safeguarding system.
The Early Help System is only effective if there is a truly integrated offer and partners work together to support children and families. Strong partnerships are a key feature of how we work in Hull and we will continue to build and develop these partnership arrangements for Early Help and work to improve our support for the communities of Hull.
The Family Star Plus is the main assessment tool used by Early Help Family Support across Hull and is designed to support effective parenting.
The Family Star Plus is embedded in the Early Help Module in liquid logic, and gives great focus on the parent themselves as well as their parenting abilities, whilst ensuring we are listening to the voice of the child and maintaining a focus on what life is like for the child. The Family Star Plus covers ten areas of parenting essential to enabling children to thrive and in line with the UK Government’s Troubled Families initiative:
- Physical health
- Your well-being
- Meeting emotional needs
- Keeping your children safe
- Social networks
- Education and learning
- Boundaries and behaviour
- Family routine
- Home and money
- Progress to work
The work undertaken with the family will progress through them through the Journey of Change. The family support worker uses action planning, giving the parents SMART targets. These will be updated every 6 weeks, so that families can focus on small steps if necessary building up to focusing on end outcomes, such as getting a job or a home. Long-term, sustainable change is built by taking steps towards fundamental changes in attitudes, skills, motivation and behaviours. The Star helps us to evidence these changes.
The service also uses the My Star, Relationship Star, Attention Star and the Parent and Baby Star.
Early Help Children’s Centres are a core part of the Early Help Delivery Model across Hull. There are eight Children’s Centres across the city, three of which are the Early Help Locality Hubs. The eight centres provide a base for bringing together a range of practitioners supporting close collaboration and alignment of services to form an Early Help Team. All staff work with partners across the locality to deliver an integrated approach to Early Help services.
The Early Help service offer a wide range of support for children, young people and families in Hull, with children aged 0 to 11 years old. At any point and after this age, we work closely with other Early Help teams to ensure that the family receive support, if needed, at any point in the child’s life.
The Early Help Delivery model focuses on a programme of change of co-ordinated, cost-effective, timely and tailored support for children, young people and families.
This support ranges from Universal to Targeted support including:
- Family and parenting support utilising the Family Stars assessment and a range of evidence based tools.
- Parenting courses – Incredible Years, Family Links Nurturing, Triple P, HENRY.
- Play and learning sessions which are linked in the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and are planned around measured outcomes for children.
- Infant massage classes which promote bonding and attachment, infant feeding, speech and language development and is also a great introduction into the services for families.
- Health Lifestyles support, sessions and advice including Us Mums exercise classes; Cooking on a Budget Courses; help to stop smoking; breastfeeding support and advice.
- Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) family support, co-ordinating services for families, offering parenting advice.
- Child health clinics in conjunction with health visitors.
- Midwifery clinics are delivered from all of our centres.
- Home safety checks, advice and equipment.
- Help to find work or training through Youth Employment Initiative and Job Centre Plus.
- Volunteering, Education and Training.
- A place to meet other parents and carers, build up friendships and support networks.
This model of support reduces demand for specialist and acute services by using a joined up and evidence based approach to Early Help, resulting in improved outcomes and life chances for families through their needs being met earlier.
Marmot, M., Fair society, healthy lives: the Marmot review: strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010. University College London Institute of Health: London, 2010.
A Bus, A.G., M.H. van IJzendoorn, and A.D. Pellegrini, Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: a meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 1995. 65(1): p. 1-21.
Lexmond, J. and R. Reeves, Building Character. 2009, Demos.: London.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Social and emotional wellbeing for children and young people: Local government briefing. www.nice.org.uk. 2013, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence: London.
Bynner, J., Childhood risks and protective factors in social exclusion. 2001, London: Institute of Education.
Farrington, D., Explaining and preventing crime: the globalization of knowledge. 1999: The American Society of Criminology.
Utting, D., Suggestions for the UK: an overview of possible action.
Department for Education, Early years evidence pack: pack summarising evidence on achievement at the early years foundation stage. 2011, Department for Education: London.
Early Help. Service Guide and Performance Review 2019/20. Hull City Council, 2020.
Hull’s Early Help and Prevention Strategy 2021-25. https://www.hull.gov.uk/sites/hull/files/media/Hull%20Early%20Help%20and%20Prevention%20Strategy%202021-25.pdf
This page was last updated on 11 May 2022.
This page is due to be updated / checked in October 2022.