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Early Intervention

The London Continuum of Need

The London Continuum of Need has replaced the Child Concern Framework in Sutton to help professionals establish levels of need and identify appropriate services to support vulnerable children and young people

The Continuum of Need model was developed in consultation with local authorities and key local and regional partners. It helps establish consistency across the London

The Continuum can be used in Sutton to help professionals:

  • Identify varying levels of need and corresponding service provision across four stages
  • Identify when to begin the Multi-Agency Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) process
  • Identify when to refer to specialist services including social services through the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

Assessing the needs of a child or young person is often a complex task and the level of need will be high in some areas, low in others and change over time. The continuum of need matrix does not provide an exhaustive list but provides examples that can be used as a tool to assist planning, assessment and decision making when considering the needs of children and their safeguarding needs in particular. Any safeguarding indicators of concern should always be considered alongside related any related needs. It should be remembered that some children will have additional vulnerability because of their disability or complex needs and the parental response to the vulnerability of the child must be considered when assessing needs and risks, this includes learning from the Serious case Reviews.

For most children their needs are met through universal services with no need for additional multi-agency assessment or planning and they are not included in this matrix.

The Levels of Need

The Continuum identifies four levels

Level 1 - No identified additional needs. Response services are universal services.

Level 2 Low risk to vulnerable - Child's needs are not clear, not known or not being met. This is often the threshold for beginning a Multi-Agency Early Help Assessment Tool (EHAT) Response services are universal support services and/or targeted services.

Level 3 Complex - Complex needs likely to require longer term intervention from statutory and/or specialist services. High level additional unmet needs -this will usually require a targeted integrated response, which will usually include a specialist or statutory service. This is also the threshold for a child in need which will require Children's Social Care intervention.

Level 4 Acute - Acute needs, requiring statutory intensive support. This in particular includes the threshold for child protection which will require Children's Social Care intervention.

Detailed guidance for each of the four levels along with descriptors to help professionals understand what sort of issues and challenges are likely to be found at each level, can be found in the London Continuum of Need Threshold Document.

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