Early Help Service

Information and advice to signpost professionals and families on to local authority services, as well as accepting referrals on behalf of the City of London's early help services.

What is Early Help?

Children and their families sometimes require support when things are not going as well as they could be. The City of London’s Early Help team works alongside children and their families to make positive changes to people’s lives, supporting them so they can access relevant services to prevent any difficulties from worsening.

Early intervention means identifying and providing effective early support to children and young people who are at risk of poor outcomes. Effective early intervention works to prevent problems occurring, or to tackle them head-on when they do, before problems get worse. It also helps to foster a whole set of personal strengths and skills that prepare a child for adult life.

The Early Help service works with children and young people from birth up until they are 18 and their families where there are emerging needs or difficulties.

These difficulties can include anything that affects health, development, wellbeing and the safety of children and young people, for example:

  • families with significant housing needs
  • families where a parent/carer is experiencing mental health difficulties
  • children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • children and young people experiencing stress and anxiety
  • children with behavioural difficulties or disorders
  • children who have a caring role (young carers) for another member of their family

An Early Help worker will encourage you to think about your individual circumstances – the things that are going well and the things you may need some help with or would like to change.

With your input, an Early Help worker will complete an family plan describing the goals you’d like to achieve and listing actions required to support those changes.

The City of London Corporation’s Early Help Team can then offer a range of support services. These will be tailored to individual circumstances but could include:

  • advice and advocacy
  • signposting to universal or specialist services
  • one to one practical and emotional support for children, young people, parents and carers
  • direct work with children
  • targeted parenting support
  • short breaks advice and support for children with disabilities

Our Early Help model encourages joint working between all those involved in receiving or delivering services. This may result in a few different professionals helping you and your family.

If there are a number of workers supporting you, we will ensure that one person acts as your main point of contact. This person is called the Lead Professional.

Children and young people under the age of 18 who are looking after someone in their family who is ill or disabled, is considered a Young Carer. The family member being cared for could be a parent, a brother or sister or a grandparent.

Caring responsibilities can look different for everyone. Some young people might be doing lots of cleaning, shopping and cooking as their family member is unable to do so independently. Some young people might be translating and interpreting for their family member. Some young people might be staying at home a lot to be there for their family member to help them get washed or dressed.

Looking after someone can be hard work and stressful as it can make it difficult to keep up with things at school, find time to have fun and see your friends, or just find time to relax.

Young Carers are entitled to get help and support from the Early Help Service. Just like other children, young people and families, the service will offer to complete an Early Help assessment to identify the needs of the young carer, and we can provide:

  • one to one support for young carers with a high level of need
  • advice to support young carers in their caring role
  • information about other support services and activities they engage in

As you approach 18, you will be supported to make a referral to Adult Social Care for a care act assessment.

If you would like to speak with someone confidentially about your situation before getting in contact with us, you can contact Sidekick, a confidential helpline for young carers in the UK.


Someone who is already working with you, or your family can make a referral to the City of London Corporation’s Early Help service by contacting the Children and Families Team.

You can also request support for yourself by speaking to someone who is already working with your family or by contacting the Children and Families Team directly.

You can contact the Children and Families team by calling 020 7332 3621 or emailing children.duty@cityoflondon.co.uk.

A referral form can be found at the bottom of the webpage.