Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT)
EHAT Frequently Asked Questions
What is EHAT?
EHAT is a shared assessment tool for use across all services for children/young people and their families. It aims to help early identification needs of children/young people and promotes a co-ordinated service response to meet those needs. EHAT is undertaken with the consent and full participation of the child/young person and their family.
Who is EHAT for?
Children/young people and families who would benefit from the provision of additional services, and where universal services do not meet any identified needs.
What does EHAT consist of?
A process common to all services for children/young people and their families to enable practitioners to undertake, in partnership with the child/family, an assessment of their needs and strengths and then act on what is identified as needs.
- A standard form to record the assessment.
- A pre-assessment is available to certain services, where they know of needs but are not in a position to undertake an EHAT.
- The assessment covers three areas: development of the child, parents and carers, family and environment.
Who will use EHAT?
Every practitioner working with children, young people and families should understand that Early Help can prevent concerns escalating to a stage that requires statutory intervention, and supports families in becoming more resilient.
All children’s workforce should and know about EHAT or how to undertake one themselves, and how the levels of need frame early help.
Every organisation offering services to children should ensure at least some of their staff are equipped to complete an EHAT form or assessment.
How does EHAT link with other assessments?
The EHAT process will be used when needs affects a child or children’s ability to develop appropriately, and where they will benefit from the support of services from a range of services. The aim is to ensure that children receive these services at the earliest opportunity.
This should remove the need for multiple assessments at the early stages of intervention in children’s lives. Where a more specialist assessment (such as a Single Assessment under the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families) is required, using EHAT will help by clearly identifying needs and what support arrangements have been in place during Early Help.
This can make sure that a Single Assessment for Social Care support is fully informed and ensure that the referral is really necessary and that it is supported by accurate up-to-date information.
The information gathered will follow the children/family and builds up a picture over time, rather than a series of partial snapshots.
How can you reassure concerns about the level of expertise of people who may be expected to conduct an EHAT assessment?
All people who will conduct an assessment will first need to have been trained as EHAT Practitioners, regardless of their professional background.
How will EHAT be involved with Social Services for adults (individuals over 16 years old)?
EHAT is designed to be used for all children from pre-birth to 18 years of age. There will need to be protocols for handover of assessment information to adult services.
Adult Services are also actively involved in the process where parent(s) needs affect the wellbeing of their children.
Who will have access to EHAT?
EHAT trained professionals from all agencies who work with children. However the individual EHAT will be owned by the child/young person/family and the practitioner who undertook the EHAT process.
Information contained in EHAT will not be able to be shared without the consent of the child/family.
How will EHAT fit in with family-centred planning?
EHAT fits perfectly with family centred planning as EHAT has the identification of needs and strengths of the children/family at its core. It is universal to all agencies and is the 'property' of the person being assessed.
How does EHAT impact on the Single Assessment/Education Health Care Plan?
The EHAT will inform a Single Assessment undertaken by Children's Social Care, or a request for an Education Health Care Plan, or indeed any other specialist Assessments.
Will we need to do an EHAT for existing cases?
It is proposed that where possible EHAT should replace existing processes and therefore should be used for new cases when it is introduced.
If an assessment has already been completed for a child (CAF) an EHAT assessment will not automatically be needed but may be completed as part of a request for services for other family members. The existing (CAF) assessment will provide a substantial part of the information required.
Frequently asked questions for lead professionals
Who is the lead professional?
The lead professional is the person responsible for coordinating the actions identified in the assessment process and being a single point of contact for the family being supported by more than one practitioner/agency or service.
Could the role of lead professional be allocated to a Primary School Teacher or School Nurse for example?
The lead professional should be the person most involved in meeting the child's needs or who has greatest contact\trust with the family. As long as the practitioner has received lead professional training they should be able to undertake the role.
Is it the lead professional's responsibility to co-ordinate all dealings and feed all information from the various agencies that may be involved with any one particular child/family?
The lead professional will coordinate provision and act as a single point of contact for the family when a range of services are involved and an integrated response is required.
How many agencies need to be involved before a lead professional is needed?
There is no maximum, the number of agencies or services involved will be individual to each family. However, it is usually at least two. Each time an additional agency becomes involved with the family, a review is needed to establish who is best placed to be the lead professional, and this might change as needs and service involvement changes.
Frequently asked questions - other
What exactly is the role of the Safeguarding Board?
The Safeguarding Board is a local multi-agency group. The Board has the duty to promote the wellbeing and Safeguarding of all children in the area.
What about police involvement, how much will be required from them?
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has agreed that there should be general EHAT awareness training, which may include how to use the Pre-EHAT, to be incorporated into initial training for all police beat officers over time. This will enable police officers to consider whether it is appropriate to make a referral or to complete a Pre-EHAT and to send it to the EHAT Co-ordinator for a full EHAT to be considered.
There are lots of agencies with clients and caseloads and funding is scare. How can we ensure that the relevant professionals/practitioners share the information and update the records?
The lead professional is responsible for sharing information with appropriate services/agencies (ensuring consent has been given). This will be supported by the EHAT co-ordinator and team who will assist in the arrangements and administration of recording to make sure there is a clear and consistent method of recording for reporting and audit requirements.
Liverpool will have three Early Help Hubs, located across the city, that will provide a point of contact for professionals to help with resolving issues and finding resolutions where there is no agreement or lack of progress.
What happens next if consent is not given, do families not receive support from services?
Refusal to give consent to share information or to take part in the completion of an EHAT does not preclude anyone from the help they need. However, the sharing of information may actually ensure that support is received faster. It also must be made clear that participating in the process does not guarantee any service either.
Will awareness raising sessions be provided as consultation to parents/carers?
There are no plans at present to provide awareness-raising sessions to parents/carers. However, information will be posted regularly on these web pages and will be sent to parents when appropriate.
What will be the process to make a direct referral if they know what service it is they want?
A Single Agency Referral form is being developed. However, where the needs require more than one service, or if it is not known if more than one service is needed, an EHAT will help in getting other services to help, because they will recognise that concerns are based on evidence, not just an assumption.
Where there is a split family do you need parental consent from both or one parent?
Where practical, consent should be gained from both parents but in the event of a dispute, the consent of the parent with whom the child resides should be obtained.