Children & Families Contact Service
If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm call the police on 999.
The Children & Families Contact Service is a single access point providing advice, information and support for children and young people who may need extra help or who are vulnerable and at risk. The team provides access to the right help at the right time, as well as supporting professionals to work in an integrated way with children, young people and their families. This includes MASH and First Stop Early Help.
Camden MASH (part of the Children & Families Contact Service)
The MASH is a partnership of agencies that have a duty to safeguard children and who have agreed to share information they have on families and children and work within an integrated team in order to improve decision-making whenever there are concerns about a child.
The MASH aims to ensure that:
- All safeguarding referrals are dealt with in a timely and effective manner
- Decisions on referrals are of a high quality following good information sharing from agencies
- Thresholds for services are consistently applied across agencies
- Families are referred on to the most appropriate service at the first point of contact
- Partner agencies are confident that they can share information safely and securely
- Sharing information outside of MASH is a controlled activity done only with the agreement of the relevant agency
- Decision-making for families is streamlined and transparent
- Intelligence on community-based risk held by individual agencies is shared and analysed at an appropriate forum to ensure a multi-agency response to that risk.
In this section you can find Camden’s threshold criteria for children’s services, which is a summarised version of the Pan London Safeguarding threshold continuum, which we have locally adopted in Camden.
Camden’s First Stop Early Help Offer — Right Help @ the Right Time
Support for children, young people and families — click here to visit the Camden Early Help website
Resilient Families Framework
The Resilient Families Framework is at the heart of the renewal and recovery programme taking place across the Council and wider partnership. It sets out Camden’s approach to supporting children, young people and families in the borough and forms Camden’s Early Help Strategy. Its priorities and aspirations have been shaped with children, young people, families, and key partners (within and outside the Council). They are:
- Prosper — Fewer children and young people are living in poverty.
- Thrive — Good health is promoted and health inequalities are reduced.
- Achieve — Children are prepared for school, succeeding and ready for transition to adulthood.
- Belong — Families feel supported, safe, resilient and happy.
- Contribute — Children and families are positively engaged in their community.
The Revised Framework describes how we work within and across services and partner organisations in Camden to improve outcomes for our families, children and young people.
First Stop Early Help
The First Stop Early Help Team is the preventative service that deals with all referrals where there are lower level needs (levels 1 and 2) that do not reach the threshold for a statutory social work service but where extra services are needed in order to meet the child’s needs, support the family and prevent issues from escalating. The First Stop Early Help Team is for any Camden child or young person between the ages of 0-19 years and their family. It is part of the wider Early Help offer in Camden, and is located with MASH in the Children and Families Contact Service.
Why might you need them?
The aim is for families to get help as early as possible, so things do not get worse – and, with the right help at the right time, things could actually improve. It might mean accessing services yourself, or professionals working with you and your family.
What does it include?
Support for lots of things, including parenting, education, employment, healthy living and emotional wellbeing, as well as preventing anti-social behaviour. This support can be provided at lots of different places and by different people including:
- Family support workers
- Children’s Centre staff
- Staff at schools
- Youth workers
- Health workers
- People from voluntary and community organisations.
How to get this help
Children’s Centres provide a range of services for families with children under five. For children and young people aged 0 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities, you can also have a look at the SEND Local Offer
If you still need additional support
You can talk to a professional who knows your family already. This could be:
- Someone at your child’s school (for example, a teacher or a nurse)
- A health visitor
- A youth worker
- Staff at a children’s centre
- Your GP or other health worker
This person will be able to talk to you about what additional support you may need and help you find the right support as early as possible. If it’s a bit more complicated, with your permission, they can complete an Early Help assessment.