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Early Help in Dorset  

Sometimes, families may need extra support and we want to make sure people get the right help at the right time. Initially we would expect families to talk to ‘universal’ service providers such as GPs, health visitors, school teachers or look at what support is available locally through the Family Information Service

If you are working with a child or young person and their family – and you all agree that a wider range of support is required, a ‘Team Around the Family’ (TAF) can help you bring together different professionals and create an outcome-focused plan to make sure the family gets all the help they need. Consent is not a requirement to share information between partners, but a family may not give consent to engage with the TAF process or any interventions suggested, so the key to success is building trusting relationships with families.   

Sometimes it can be difficult to know when and how a problem can be dealt with by your own organisation, and / or whether other agencies should be brought in to support the family, alongside you. Dorset County Council provides training called ‘Early Help – Understanding Your Role’ which is available twice a month across the county at various locations. You can book a place on this via Nexus

If you and the family agree that help from other agencies is the best way forward, you have a responsibility to do something. If you are not sure what to do next, you can always contact the (Local Authority) Family Partnership Zone for advice and a conversation about next steps. Family Partnership Zones are geographic areas broadly linked to school partnership areas and are a model which brings together all services in that area who work with children and families – this includes, but is not restricted to, early years providers, schools, health services, volunteers, community or church organisations and the police.

 Each zone has a small team of Local Authority staff and some of the work they undertake includes:  

  • Group work with children and young people 
  • Parent support groups 
  • Help with periods of change in a child or young person’s life 
  • Direct work with families 
  • Advice, support and guidance to other professionals 

For more information including contact details for each family partnership zone, please visit DorsetForYou