It is essential when completing or reviewing an Early Help Assessment to gain a clear picture of a child’s or young person's wishes, thoughts and feelings. It is a good practice to ask the child or young person which professional they would like to gather this information from them.
The right of a child or young person to be heard is included in the UN convention of rights and the Children’s Act 2004 emphasises the importance of speaking to the child or young person as part of an assessment. The importance of speaking to a child/young person and gathering their views has been consistently highlighted in lessons learned from serious case reviews.
Below there are a range of tools that can be used to capture the views of a child or young person. There are different tools appropriate for children or young people of different ages, level of need or understanding. There are no factors including age, understanding or level of need that should be a barrier to capturing the views of a child or young person as part of an assessment.
It is recommended that an Early Help Assessment be undertaken with adult and child family members. However if young person has a level of competence that enables them to understand the assessment process, an Early Help Assessment can be undertaken with them without parental consent. The Fraser Guidelines below provide further guidance around consent for young people.
The Early Help Assessment also includes Early Help Assessment scoring. A score is provided (1-10) for each section of the assessment for each individual assessed. Whenever possible this should be undertaken with the child or young person concerned. A scoring tool, which can be used as a visual aid for this process, can be found on the supporting tools page.
Children or young people should also be given the opportunity to attend and contribute to Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings where appropriate. Should they not attend or not wish to attend, their wishes, thoughts and feelings should still be shared. This can be provided in any format including in written or picture form. Tools which can support in the gathering of this information can also be found on this web page. Any work that reflects the voice of the child or young person should also be submitted as an attachment alongside your Early Help Assessment or Review.
For those professionals who wish to further develop their skills in communicating with children further, Salford Safeguarding Partnership offer a specific communicating with children course.
In addition to the tools found on this website, the Sheffkids website is a useful resource for ‘Voice of the Child’ tools.
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.
This page was last updated on 6 June 2019