Children and families

Early help assessment guidance for parents

There may be times when you or your children need support, and times when you're not sure how to make things better.

For some time now agencies and services have been working together to help families, as we know that the sooner help and support is provided, the better families can begin to help themselves and stop things getting worse. All services and agencies in Liverpool work with an information gathering tool called an early help assessment tool (EHAT). 

Services such as schools, health visitors, youth workers and childcare workers may already be working with you and your family. If they have identified needs that require additional help and support from multiple agencies or services they will carry out an early help assessment.

If you've been referred for an EHAT

You'll be asked to share information about your circumstances, your difficulties and things that go well in your family. Everyone involved can clearly see what's been discussed so you can get the most appropriate help and support from a range of services. As information can be shared with other workers and services, you only have to tell ‘your story’ once, rather than lots of times to different people.

This is voluntary, and is there to help you and your family, who will be involved in the EHAT every step of the way.


As a rule, the information you and your children provide will only be shared with your consent, and generally will not be shared with any service or agency you don’t want this shared with. Sharing information will be explained to you when the EHAT is completed, and you will be asked to sign a consent section of the form.

However, there may be times when people working with you need to share information. For example:

  • when a child might be at risk of harm
  • to help a child who is at risk of harm
  • when an adult is at risk or harm
  • when we legally have to (for example to prevent or detect a serious crime)

If a service or agency believes that a child may be suffering significant harm, or is concerned that a child has suffered harm, neglect or abuse, they will contact children's social care for an urgent referral and submit a multi-agency referral form (MARF).

Further information

Download our Early Help Guide for Families below.