Shropshire Council

Early help tools

You can use this page to access tools and resources to help to gather information and evidence to inform your assessment.

What is early help? Information for parents

Our leaflet explains what early help is and the support that's available to parents in Shropshire. It's a leaflet that practitioners can share with parents when they're recommending early help.

What is early help? Information for practitioners

Our leaflet explains what early help is and how it works in Shropshire.

SSP threshold document

This is an inter-agency procedure. It's a document for assisting in analysing information and making informed decisions about risk.

Risk analysis guidance sheet

This guidance will assist professionals to form judgements about the likely level of risk to children who have experienced or may experience harm, and how to gather this evidence.

My Life supporting tools

Will provide children and young people the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings on their life, or a particular situation. This evidence base should inform assessments and help to identify outcomes and actions which are child/young person focused.

My Life (primary) is designed to be used with primary school-aged children

My Life (young person) is designed to be used with secondary school- and college-aged young people (please note: this booklet is designed to be printed in A5 size, so the pages will be in the correct order once printed).

Neglect strategy

Neglect is the most cited reason for children to be referred to Children's Social Care and for becoming 'looked after', but neglect is preventable and can be tackled if agencies work together. The revised Neglect Strategy exists to prevent and reduce neglect across Shropshire.

There is also a Neglect Screening Tool to equip frontline practitioners to:

  • Identify signs of neglect at an early stage
  • Alert the need for further action
  • Identify which agency / organisation / practitioner will progress further assessment / intervention as needed

Self-harm toolkit

Information, advice and guidance for practitioners dealing with self harm.

Suicide prevention toolkit

If practitioners have concerns that a young person has suicidal thoughts or behaviours they must follow the steps laid out in the Suicide Prevention Care Pathway

Child exploitation guidance

A guidance document to ensure that professionals have a consistent understanding of child exploitation and know what is expected of them should concerns arise.

Substance misuse toolkit

A joint working protocol between substance misuse services and children and family services to meet the needs of children and young people affected by parental drug/alcohol misuse.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has published new practice standards for the care of young people with substance misuse problems. Staff and professionals working with children and young people should have the competences to identify those at risk. In order for local agencies and service providers to identify young people who may be at risk in Shropshire, We Are With You has developed a screening tool. The tool will enable staff to carry out a brief assessment of needs paying particular focus to substance use, at risk groups and at risk situations as identified by the practice standards.

Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Checklist

For further information on the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Checklist and on Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) please view our Crime & Community Safety page. The Shropshire Domestic Abuse Pathway can be viewed from here.

The autism spectrum gathering tool

This tool is for use by professionals where there are concerns relating to the autism spectrum. The tool can be used as a prompt in discussion with the parent. Information recorded in an Early Help assessment can contribute to the initial screening for a neurodevelopment disorder.

Consent to record and share personal information

We're committed to being open and honest with families from the outset as to why, what, how and with whom their personal information will be shared. We urge professionals to gain written consent when seeking consultation or making referrals by completing a consent form.

A briefing sheet on information sharing has been developed for parents to help them understand why their personal information is held, and why it may be necessary to share that with agencies as part of the support and help provided. 

Sexually active under 18s protocol

The Sexual Activity in Children & Young People including under age sexual activity and peer on peer abuse procedure is designed to assist professionals in identifying where children and young people’s sexual relationships may be abusive and therefore may need the provision of protection or additional services.

Practitioners can refer to the Brook sexual behaviours traffic light tool which helps practitioners identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours.

The tool uses a traffic light system to categorise the sexual behaviours of young people and  is designed to help professionals:

  • Make decisions about safeguarding children and young people
  • Assess and respond appropriately to sexual behaviour in children and young people
  • Understand healthy sexual development and distinguish it from harmful behaviour

16/17 year old homelessness pathway

A pathway document for responding to concerns about 16/17 year old homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Pre-birth assessment policy and guidance

This guidance is for all professionals involved with families prior to birth. It's of particular relevance to those involved in conducting pre-birth assessments.

The guidance is intended to inform timely and clear planning assessment where parent(s) are engaged and supported throughout the ante-natal period and immediately after birth. Identifying the needs of and potential risks to the unborn child at the earliest possible stage reduces the likelihood of last minute intervention around the time of birth, and enables help and support to be provided.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with Shropshire Safeguarding Partnership child protection procedures and threshold document.

Multi-agency referral form (MARF)

To make a referral to children’s social care where, after using the threshold document, complex/significant needs are identified, it's the expectation that this will be done through the multi-agency referral form (MARF), and making specific reference to the descriptors within the threshold matrix in the threshold document. For urgent child protection matters, a telephone referral should be followed by a completed MARF.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)

"Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are highly stressful and potentially traumatic events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence. They can be single events, or prolonged threats to, and breaches of, a young person’s safety, security, trust or bodily integrity."  Source: Young Minds

ACEs refer to some of the most intensive and frequently occurring sources of stress that children may suffer early in life. It has been evidenced that considerable and prolonged stress in childhood has lifelong consequences for a person's health and wellbeing.

Examples of ACEs include:

Five direct ACEs:

  • Sexual abuse by parent / caregiver
  • Emotional abuse by parent / caregiver
  • Physical abuse by parent / caregiver
  • Emotional neglect by parent / caregiver
  • Physical neglect by parent / caregiver

Five indirect ACEs:

  • Parent / caregiver addicted to alcohol / other drugs
  • Witnessed abuse in the household
  • Family member in prison
  • Family member with a mental illness
  • Parent / caregiver disappeared through abandoning family / divorce

ACEs have been causally and proportionately linked to poor physical, emotional and mental health, and also have a significant impact on social and educational outcomes.

For further information on ACEs you can visit the following websites:

Wellness recovery action plan

This action plan has been developed by Beam, the emotional health and wellbeing service for children and young people across the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin areas. It's a booklet for young people to complete, to help them think about, and write down, things they do and could do to become, and keep themselves, well. It's designed as an aid for learning about themselves, what helps them and what doesn’t, and how to progressively gain more control over their life.

Risk of homelessness

The Housing Options team have produced a briefing sheet and referral form to support workers in identifying people at risk of homelessness. This helps to ensure that support is provided at the earliest opportunity.

Prevent referral form

If you think a child or young person is at risk of harm of terrorism and extremism under the Prevent Duty please use this referral form to report your concerns. This nationally recognised referral form will now provide all agencies with a consistent approach to making a referral. It is structured in such a way that it prompts the referrer to consider what information is required to allow for the most effective assessment of threat, risk and vulnerability.