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What is early help assessment?

The Early help assessment is used by practitioners to help gather and understand information about the strengths and needs, completed with the family and includes their thoughts and feelings regarding their situation. The holistic Outcomes Star assessment identifies the most appropriate way to meet those needs and support the family to make positive changes.

When it is completed, practitioners are able to see the family’s strengths so they can be built on, identify the needs holistically and not fragmented.

What makes a good quality early help assessment?

A good quality early help assessment should be:

Empowering making sure that the child/young person and/or their parent/carer is supported to participate and it is a collaborative assessment.

Developmental– supporting the child or young person and parent/carer to adopt a solution focused approach to the discussion and plan.

Accessible– for all concerned, including the efficient use of time and resources (e.g. resources, equipment and interpreter.

Transparent– the purpose of the assessment is clear and honest and there are no hidden agendas. Everyone must understand the possible outcomes of the assessment.

The principles underpinning it should include:

Validity– the assessment has achieved what it intended to assess (i.e. the strengths and needs of the child/young person)

Accuracythe assessment provides an accurate representation of the strengths and needs of the child/young person.

Clarity– the assessment is clear, concise and understandable by all those involved and any practitioners who may get involved at a later stage.

Inclusivethe assessment represents the views and opinions of the child or young person and/or family: this is reflected through their language and expressions.

Authenticity– the assessment is accurate, evidence based record of the discussions.

Professionalismthe assessment is non-judgemental and follows organisational codes of practice for recording.

Outcome basedthe assessment promotes an approach that focuses on what the child or young person and their parents/carers want to achieve.

Practicalthe assessment identifies the strengths and needs clearly and specifically to allow for an accurate and appropriate action plan.

As practitioners we use a range of assessment tools. Some holistic and some more specialised and focused on a particular area.

Bucks Early Help Partnership identifies the Outcomes Star Tool as the generic holistic assessment; however we may at times use additional assessment tools: