Guidance on accommodating children in need and their families

It is important that there are clear criteria for taking action and providing help across this full continuum.

Having clear thresholds for action which are understood by all professionals, and applied consistently, including for children returning home from care, should ensure that services are commissioned effectively and that the right help is given to the child at the right time.

Professionals working in universal services have a responsibility to identify the symptoms and triggers of abuse and neglect, to share that information and work together to provide children and young people with the help they need.

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Some of these services may be delivered to parents but should always be evaluated to demonstrate the impact they are having on the outcomes for the child.Where need is relatively low level individual services and universal services may be able to take swift action.For other emerging needs a range of early help services may be required, coordinated through an early help assessment, as set out above.Early help can also prevent further problems arising, for example, if it is provided as part of a support plan where a child has returned home to their family from care.Section 10 of the Children Act 2004 requires each local authority to make arrangements to promote cooperation between the authority, each of the authority's relevant partners and such other persons or bodies working with children in the local authority's area as the authority considers appropriate.Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later.

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