Early Help Service 0-19 (including Family Hubs and Health Visiting)
Early Help Service 0–19
The Early Help Service 0–19 can help support your family from pregnancy until your child is 19.
The service is made up of East Sussex County Council and NHS professionals, who can offer a wide range of support at your home, from a Family Hub or a Youth Hub.
They can offer help and support through:
- Health Visiting health clinics and home visits
- Keywork Support
- Family groups at a Family Hub
- Youth groups at a Youth Hub
- Supporting you to become a volunteer
- Training courses to improve Life Skills
- Support with child Speech and Language
- Antenatal support (NHS)
- Parenting Advice and Courses
The Early Help Service 0-19 is vital in the identification and support of early years Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Please note, accessing keywork support depends on your child's level of need. Please contact the Early Help Service 0-19 to find out more.
The Health Visiting Team (which includes health visitors, staff nurses and community nursery nurses) provide all families with five developmental reviews from pregnancy to when your child is 2 ½ years old, as well as extra support when needed. This is called the Healthy Child Programme.
They will talk with you about you and your partners own health and wellbeing as well as your child’s health and development needs. They can provide direct support to you as well as accessing a wide range of service from the rest of the Early Help Team.
Because of the five developmental reviews, health visitors are often the first professionals to be involved in the assessment and support of young children with SEND.
When your child has SEND, or a suspected developmental need, your health visitor can:
- Advise and support parents and explain how different health services work
- Make initial observations of a child’s SEND needs
- Carry out advanced assessments and development reviews until your child is 5
- Support with wider health needs
- Refer to an Early Communication Support Worker
- Make a health referral to a paediatrician (a specialist doctor for children) or other specialist health services like ophthalmology or audiology
- Make a referral for assessment and support from the Local Authority
- Make a referral to Children’s Integrated Therapy and Equipment Service (CITES)
- Advise parents and carers on non-health services that might be helpful
- Support the network of professionals helping a child when their needs are severe
The Portage service is a home visiting educational service for pre-school children. They offer advice, information and support to families of children with profound / severe learning disabilities who may have other additional needs such as physical, medical, sensory or Autistic Spectrum Conditions.
A referral can be made by either parents, carers or other professionals. Following this, they meet with each family and child to discuss whether the Portage service is right for you. Once a service has been agreed, they work with you to build a partnership which will be personalised to meet the needs of you and your child.
Families will receive fortnightly visits with a Portage trained home visitor lasting approximately 1 hour.
There are 3 key elements to every home visit:
- Child led play - Identify child's skills and interests
- Structured Teaching - Focus on child's development
- Family Focus - Share any concerns and celebrate successes
Early Communication Support Workers
Early Communication Support Workers (ECSW) can help with early speech, language and communication development. The ECSWs are not Speech and Language Therapists but they do have a special focus on speech and language.
The ECSWs run Toddler Talk sessions across East Sussex to support families who have concerns about their child’s speech, language and communication. The ECSWs give parents support in developing their understanding of their child’s speech and language development by completing language checkers and giving families speech and language development leaflets and home learning ideas.
You can contact an Early Communication Support Worker through your Health Visiting team:
Small Beginnings is a parent/carer and child stay, play and learn session for those concerned about the development of their pre-school child.
These sessions offer a chance to enjoy time with your child whilst learning how to support their play, communication and interaction. There will be opportunities to work alongside Early Years Professionals and also to meet other local parents.
If you are interested in attending Small Beginnings then talk to your Health Visitor or speak to someone at your local Family Hub.
Crèches in Family Hubs
Early Years Practitioners provide crèches for children aged from 12 weeks to 5 years to help parents and carers access appointments, groups and classes. The crèches are suitable for children with SEND and support the development of key skills such as language learning.
Contact your local Family Hub for more information:
1 to 1 Support and Intervention Groups
Early Years Providers (EYPs) can provide 1 to 1 support sessions with families which include supporting play with a child and making assessments of a child’s development. This is helpful for children whose development is falling behind other children their age. The 1 to 1 support is usually received when a referral is made by another professional such as a health visitor.
The EYPs will also run small intervention groups for families to attend with other families to learn and play together.
If you are interested in 1 to 1 support from an EYP, then talk to your Health Visitor or speak to someone at your local Family Hub.
Additional Help and Support
Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:
East Sussex Local Offer directory of services
You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:
NHS - Health A to Z
While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:
Open for Parents
Open for Parents is a website managed by the Early Help Service which advises parents on different aspects of parenting. It includes tips for parenting all ages of children (it does not have SEND specific tips) and gives information on how to access the Parenting Team who can advise and support parents who need it:
Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms
Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.