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Early help for professionals working with children

It's everyone's responsibilityto improve the lives of young people and their families in the borough. This page is for professionals such as teachers, health workers and other child care professionals. If you are a member of the public and want information and advice about early help please visit Early help and support for families.

A young person over the age of 13 can refer themselves to a youth worker by contacting The Vibe Youth Centre, 195-211 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham RM8 2UT on 0208 227 3289.

If you would like to discuss what early help support is available in LBBD you can contact us on 020 8227 5600 9am to 4.45pm Monday to Friday. This is for consultations / conversations about what is available and does not replace the referral or Early Help assessment process.

If you have a serious concern about a child please use our Report a serious concern about a child (MARF) online form.

What we can do

Allocate a Targeted Early Help Worker and/ or Youth Worker.

They can:

  • provide parenting support within the home
  • direct work with children and families to support their lived experience, explore their wishes and feelings and support in identifying change to achieve this
  • encourage and support the family to make positive changes and feel confident in their ability to make changes
  • safety planning with the family whilst awaiting domestic abuse support
  • referrals to and liason with other agencies who had not previously been identified
  • respite package/ direct payments application


Parenting Programme as a group member 

Review of needs

  • Support in introducing and accessing services within universal settings or with external agencies
  • Team Around the Family 

What we cannot do

  • monitor the family 
  • be responsible for the family completing their actions in the plan
  • look after the children whilst families attend appointments made for them
  • complete referrals on behalf of other agencies (MARF)
  • arrange any form of move for families with regards to accommodation 
  • directly provide specialist service (i.e. counselling, health advise)



Early help and family support referral

Professionals who want to make an early help referral

If you are working in a health, childcare setting or a school outside of Barking and Dagenham, you can refer a child or family to us. Before you do you must get the parent or carer to agree to the referral and sign a consent form.

If you are a professional who is qualified to carry out a full Early Help assessment you should make your assessment through the usual process and not complete the form below.

Important information before you make a referral 

Before making a referral to us, you need to consider whether the child or young person's needs can be met by services within your own organisation, or by other organisations already known to them such as their school, health visitor, school nurse, GP or local or national organisations and support groups. Please go to our Early help and support for families page for more advice and information.

Early help and support for families         

If you do decide to make a referral, you should know that we may decide that the needs of the child or young person may be best met by other organisations outside of the council's Early Help team. 

Completing the online referral

The online referral will take around 15 to 20 mins to complete although this does depend on the circumstances of the child/family you are referring. You can't save and return to the form at a later time so make sure you give yourself enough time. You can return to previous sections of the form and each section will be saved as long as you don't close the window.    

You might find it useful to type your detailed assessment in a word or other document type and save it, so you can just cut and paste it into the on line form when you are ready.

You will be asked to give your views on the following areas, but you don't have to complete them all if they are not relevant. You can tell us about strengths as well as needs or issues. Please give us as much information as you can, so that we don't have to delay making a decision. 

Child development needs

  • Their health and physical development
  • Their speech and communication
  • Their emotional and behavioural development 
  • Their education
  • Their family and social relationships


  • Basic care and stability 
  • Ensuring safety
  • Emotional warmth
  • Guidance and boundaries  

Family environment 

  • Money and home 
  • Family history 

You will also need to tell us details about the child and their family, including where they live and their date(s) of birth, so make sure you have these to hand before you start. 

You will also be able to upload documents which may help the Early Help team with their assessment such as a CAF or pre-CAF report or previous early help assessment, so have these ready to upload too.

If you have any questions on completing a referral you can contact the team at targetedreferrals@lbbd.gov.uk 

Once you submit the online form the Early Help team will receive it immediately. A copy of the form will be sent back to you (and your organisation if you request it) straightaway by email. We will normally contact you within 48 hours.  

If you believe a child is being sexually exploited or abused, radicalised, is at risk from gangs, or county lines, please  use our Report a serious concern about a child online form.  

If you are a professional who is qualified to carry out a full Early Help assessment you should make your assessment through the usual process and not complete the form below. 

Make an Early Help Referral          

Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children Board

The Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children Board website has more information on keeping young people safe.

Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children 

About the borough

If you want to know more about the borough and our demographic take a look at our statistics and data pages. 

The borough has many challenges, but with the youngest population in London there are also a lot of exciting opportunities. 

Statistics and data 

Social prescribing 

The borough's Early Help strategy aims to make more use of social prescribing. 

Social prescribing is a way of linking patients in primary care with sources of support within the community. It provides GPs with a non-medical referral option that can operate alongside existing treatments to improve health and wellbeing.

Healthy London Partnership: Social prescribing 

Service Directory

This service directory lists local and national services that can help children, young people and their families with a wide range of needs.

The directory has filters which allows you to select a general or specific area that you need support with and shows what the service does, contact details and referral routes in.

Early help service directory (XLSX, 256KB)