Early Help & Family Support

Making the journey through services seamless for families so that they receive the right help at the right time.”

What is Early Help?

Over 85,000 children live in Newham. Partners are committed to ensuring that every child in the borough grows up happy, healthy and safe, and receives an excellent education, which prepares them for the next stage of their lives.

Early help is the principle of providing the right support at the right time to tackle problems emerging for children, young people and their families. It is about providing effective help as soon as difficulties emerge, while they are still low level.

Early help may be needed at any point in a child or young person’s life and we seek to offer support quickly to reduce the impact of problems that may have already emerged. Families are best supported by those professionals who already work with them, who will be able to organise additional support with local partners as needed.

Early Help is about stepping in to avoid escalation of need so that children, young people and families do not require specialist or statutory services unnecessarily. Early Help aims  that preventative services are provided at the right time to achieve better long-term outcomes for families.

What is the Early Help Hub?

The Early Help Hub comprises of the Early Help Partnership Team and Families First Service

The Early Help Hub sits alongside Newham Multiagency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to undertake the following:

  • Screen and conduct research on requests for support and identify appropriate lead agencies to work in partnership with families
  • Work with families to understand their story and to help identify the right support required at that specific time 
  • Provide information, advice and guidance on early help to professionals and the public
  • Help co-ordinate support for families where an appropriate lead agency has not been identified at the point of referral for a limited period of time
  • Support professionals to understand a family’s strengths and needs by completing an Early Help Record
  • Help identify families that might need an intensive level of support requiring statutory involvement
  • Provide advice on transitioning cases where statutory intervention is no longer required but further support may be offered at the universal early help level.

How can I access Early Help support?

How can I access early help support for me and my family?

Early Help is about accessing the right support at the right time for your child and your family. All families are able to request support as and when they need it from services from within their local community and this support is available to all children and young people from pre-birth to 19 years of age (up to 25 for SEND). Professionals and agencies that you are already involved with may be able to support you with any difficulties that you might be experiencing in partnership with you and your family.

Some of these agencies have been listed below:

Understand, Plan, Do and Review Process

Each agency will seek to ‘Understand’ your family’s circumstances, strengths and presenting needs to effectively ‘Plan and do’ some interventions to help improve outcomes for your family. They will also ‘Review’ the plan to ensure that things are moving in the right direction and that your family receives the support they need.

What kind of support can I request help with?

You may need support with one or more of the following:

  • Relationship difficulties
  • Children’s behaviour that challenges us
  • Access to local activities and services for children and young people with additional needs
  • Housing and financial difficulties
  • Help with maintaining boundaries and behaviour management
  • Physical and Mental Health related difficulties
  • Alcohol and substance misuse
  • Difficulties in arranging appropriate childcare


If you find that you are still struggling to get the support you need, please feel free to contact the Early Help Partnership Team on earlyhelppartnershipteam@newham.gov.uk who will be able to point you in the right direction.

Who are the Early Help Partnership Team?

The Early Help Partnership team is made up of coordinators and practitioners who advise and guide partners in their statutory responsibility of safeguarding and early help support to children, young people and families. We support partners to identify the right support at the right time for families as and when they need it.

What support is available from the Early Help Partnership Team?

The Early Help Partnership team provides support and guidance to partners to:

  • Embed the Early Help Record as the single method to record, plan and review work with families in a single and multi-agency context
  • Strengthen their early help and safeguarding policy and practice
  • Complete statutory Section 11 audits
  • Understand designated safeguarding lead responsibilities through specialised single-agency training
  • Provide individual case direction and strategy for innovative ways of working with families
  • Remove barriers to learning and achievement
  • Network with other services to share best practice and information
  • Embed systems such as Safeguard software to record Early Help and Safeguarding concerns.

In turn, we aim that these activities will:

  • Ensure that all practitioners have a shared vision and skills set, which puts the family at the centre of finding and developing solutions (for example through access to training and practitioners networks)
  • Support families to build resilience and help themselves, including supporting parents to access education and work
  • Get it right first time for more children, young people and families, through early identification, prevention and robust interventions at every level of need
  • Ensure seamless working across all agencies, disciplines and levels of need, through our approach to Integrated Neighbourhood Working, so that we improve the journeys of children and families through services in the borough.

What is Families First?

Families First is an early help targeted service which works with young people and their families, for three to six months, to improve family life and help children and young people to reach their goals and potential.

Who is the service for?

Families First is a service for all families in Newham who have children aged under 18 who need extra support. This could be help in school or because a family is experiencing difficulties. Referrals for this service are made by different professionals such as Social Workers, teachers, schools, health or police. Families can also self-refer to our service by contacting Newham MASH on 0203 373 4600 or The Early Help Partnership Team.

What is the criteria for Families First?

Families that are referred to this service may be experiencing some of the following difficulties:

  • Parental domestic abuse 
  • Parental mental health
  • Parental substance misuse
  • Parents with learning disabilities
  • Family conflict
  • Children/ Young People  at risk of exclusion or those who have already been excluded from school, including young people not in education, employment or training (NEET)
  • Children/Young People  missing education or having low school attendance
  • Children/Young People at risk of exploitation in the community
  • Children/Young People with emotional well-being difficulties
  • Children/Young People perpetrating domestic abuse against their parents
  • Children/Young People who go missing from home

With the family’s consent, a Families First Coach will work with the whole family to understand what is working well and build on those strengths.

Families First Contact Details

Early Help Service Manager:
Claire.Belgard@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 9952

Families First Team Leaders:
East Team           Novlette Robinson – novlette.robinson@newham.gov.uk  or 0203 373 9439
West Team         Vicki Kitts – vicki.kitts@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 4122
Central Team     Nora Hammond – nora.hammond@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373  9368
South Team        Fran Craven – fran.craven@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 0257

Early Help Partnership Team Contact Details

Early Help Service Manager:

Claire.Belgard@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 9952

Early Help Partnership Co-ordinators:

Kathy Dee -  Kathy.Dee@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 0673
Dawn Henry -  dawn.henry@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 7031
Beverley Howes – Beverley.howes@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 6805

Early Help Co-ordinator for Health:

Rosalina.Frazer@newham.gov.uk or 07951 235 847

Early Help Hub Practitioners:

Pooja Makwana
Thamanna Ferdousi
Joy Masade
Mariam Najjuma

Early Help Referral Officer:

Louisa Sarpong – louisa.sarpong@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 7184

Business Support Officer:

Diana Spencer – diana.spencer@newham.gov.uk or 0203 373 4037

Are you working with a Family?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:I am a parent. How can I access ‘Early Help’?

You could have a conversation with a professional who knows your family already about any concerns or needs. This could be someone at your child’s school such as their teacher, a health visitor or school nurse, staff at your local children’s centre or any other services that you regularly use.

Alternatively, you can contact the Early Help Partnership Team to find out more information.

Q: I am a professional. Can I refer cases to the Early Help Partnership team?

No, the Early Help Partnership do not have a case holding function. However we offer support in:

  • Completing checks on families to inform if the child is known to Children Social Care and if they are receiving intervention via Families First or a Social Worker
  • Support with quality assuring completed Early Help Records
  • Support with facilitating Team around the School (TAS) and Team around the Family (TAF) meetings
  • Offering support, advice and guidance on cases
  • Providing professional development with various training opportunities
  • Offering opportunities for professionals to network to share best practice and information
  • Weekly Early Help Bitesize newsletters with updated information of what is happening within the community
  • Newham Connect page dedicated to Early Help and a bank of resources including a Directory of services for local organisations who can support you. This is updated according to new information.

Family Feedback

To continually develop and improve our early help service, we welcome families’ feedback as to the service that they have received from either Families First, schools, health and children’s centres. Please complete the online feedback form located under ‘useful links’ above.

Services