Accessing Help and Services

The Local Authority has a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  This is achieved through multi agency working and with the full co-operation of partners.  It includes a wide continuum of need ranging from universal to early help and statutory social care intervention to ensure every child gets the right help and support at the right time.

1. Accessing Help and Services

1.1 Each child, and their family situation, is unique. Therefore, it is important to understand  that different levels of help may be needed at different times; depending on family circumstances at any given point.

1.2 Where need is relatively low level, individual services and universal services may be able to target the right support for effective intervention.  For other emerging needs, a range of early help services may be required; coordinated through an early help assessment, as set out on the Tees Procedures Early Help page.  

1.3 Where there are more complex needs, help may be provided under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (children in need).  Where there are child protection concerns (reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm) Local Authority Social Care Services must make enquiries and decide if any action must be taken under section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

1.4 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, should ensure that services are commissioned effectively and that the right help is given to the child at the right time.

1.5 If you feel that a child needs support from Children’s Social care you will need to consult your safeguarding lead and take guidance from them on whether a referral is required. When in doubt, you can call the Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees Children’s Hub or Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland MACH* for advice. 

1.6 A SAFER Referral Form must be used to report any concerns about a child. You can download a referral form at top of the Tees Procedure Website pages by clicking on the yellow button ' Download Referral Form'.

1.7 If you feel that a child would benefit from support from a Local Authorities Early Help Service, please refer to the early help page to find out how to access their services.