Support for children, young people and their families

We offer a range of universal, targeted and specialist services and support.

This is provided by local authority services and partner agencies, as well as a wide range of provision from the community and voluntary sector.

For many families the early help offer will start with them accessing information online. For children's services provided by the county council the starting point is the education and learning section.

The following section summarises our local early help offer (organised alphabetically), but it must be noted that this is not an exclusive list, nor does it describe in detail how different services work across a number of different themes.

In North Yorkshire, we are working collaboratively to offer a graduated response to ensure early identification and intervention for children with emotional health difficulties. Children with the most severe difficulties should receive support from specialist services in a timely manner and most children will receive support from community-based services at school or in their home. The following guides are available for specific areas of North Yorkshire:

The community child and adolescent mental health services offers support to children, young people and their families who are experiencing significant emotional difficulties or who have mental health issues. Most people attend appointments or groups in the outpatient (community) services run by the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Trust and in Craven by the Bradford District Care Trust. If the problem is more severe, then the inpatient teams may become involved.

Children and young people can be referred to the service up to their eighteenth birthday. The team accepts referrals for children and young people whose mental health needs are impacting upon their lives and cannot be helped with support from other services within health, children's services, social care and / or the voluntary sector.

Early help services are mainly offered through primary mental health workers but other child and adolescent mental health services staff to contribute to early help support that is led by other services.

Anybody can refer to the service, including the parent of a child or young person, who can telephone the team directly or speak to a professional through school or their doctor. Emergency referrals are accepted from professionals who have serious concerns about the mental health of a young person requiring an assessment of risk within 24 hours.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for buying many local health services, including community child and adolescent mental health services. As part of the government’s policy commitment 'Future in Mind', local clinical commissioning groups must work with local authorities and others to develop local transformation plans.

The transformation plans for North Yorkshire can be found here:

The county council and three North Yorkshire clinical commissioning groups have been working with partners to develop the cross agency  Social and emotional mental health plan 2017-20 (pdf / 4 MB) for children and young people across North Yorkshire.

Read the  North Yorkshire Pathways of support for children and young people with self harming behaviour and/or suicidal ideation (pdf / 2 MB).

Children's centres provide universal and targeted early childhood services to improve outcomes for young children and their families. In North Yorkshire 37 children's centres ensure all families with children under five are offered the level of support that meets their individual needs. Programmes provided by and through the centres encourage bonding in a child's first year and include advice on the home learning environment, parenting programmes, family learning, support with healthy lifestyles and home visiting.

The community and voluntary sector play a key role in providing a range of universal and targeted services. This includes youth provision made through North Yorkshire Youth. The youth active engagement contract is delivered by Thirsk Clock. There are also close links with NYPACT, who support work with families who have a child with a disability.

Compass REACH is an innovative specialist service that helps young people who are engaged in risk taking behaviour to make sustainable lifestyle changes to improve their long-term health, resilience and emotional wellbeing. In this way the service reduces risk to the young person and others and equips young people to succeed in mainstream services and to reach their potential.

The service and Compass staff team are fully integrated into the North Yorkshire youth support service structure and operates from youth service sites across the county. Compass REACH provides the full range of specialist interventions required by young people who have been screened as having moderate or high levels of need with regard to their substance misuse and/or sexual health.

In North Yorkshire our customer service centre is the 'front door' to the social work service and early help services. All contacts received are screened by a qualified social work manager to determine whether they meet the threshold for social work intervention. If the referral does not meet the threshold but there are needs that require some support, the referral can be redirected for early help. The customer service centre will contact managers of relevant agencies to take this forward.

The customer services centre may be contacted for all enquiries online by live chat or on 01609 780780. The telephone number will be answered by the emergency duty team outside of our opening hours.

There are many organisations in York and North Yorkshire that specialise in helping victims of domestic abuse - in particular Independent Domestic Abuse Services. Advice and support can be obtained from IDAS on 03000 110 110 or their website

Each locality is served by a domestic abuse co-ordinator, who leads on the safer community agenda and links local domestic abuse services with borough and district councils and the police as part of the North Yorkshire domestic abuse strategy.

The domestic abuse joint commissioning plan is committed to delivering specialist therapeutic support for children and young people to break the cycle of abuse and prevent later adult mental health difficulties. It is expected that all children after they have accessed this service will have reduced physical symptoms and an improved emotional wellbeing. It is expected that parent-child relationships and family cohesion will have improved and children and young people will no longer have a distorted view of what constitutes a healthy relationship.

All three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours a week of free early years education from the beginning of the school term following their third birthday until compulsory school age. Providers include childminders, pre-school playgroups, private day nurseries, council-run nursery schools and classes, reception classes in infant and primary schools (four-year-old places only) and independent schools. To offer funded early education places, providers have to register with the North Yorkshire Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership to claim nursery education grant.

From September 2013, two year olds from families on certain benefits and those who are Looked After Children or have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have been eligible for free early learning places. This entitlement is expanding to low income families from September 2014 to reach around 40 per cent of two year olds. Additional support is available for children with special needs and English as an additional language.

More information and application forms can be obtained online from the early education places and funding page on our website.

The educational psychology service runs an early help consultation model with schools. Planning and review meetings in schools provide a termly multi-agency forum which enables school staff to access educational psychology advice without going through a formal referral process.

Education psychologists support common assessment meetings with parents. Additionally they run training and support for new and experienced special educational needs co-ordinators, as well as a wider training programme for all school staff to build workforce capacity in terms of meeting the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities. They will be reshaped over the next 12 to 18 months and this is likely to involve an element of trading with settings, schools and colleges for its non-statutory work, or early help related work.

Education social workers work closely with schools and families to resolve issues of poor school attendance. They support children and families when pupils are experiencing difficulties in school or welfare issues are disrupting a child's education. The service also provides support and advice to schools in developing strategies to improve pupil attendance.

The education social work service enforces a parent's duty to ensure regular school attendance; it also discharges the authority's responsibility to monitor child employment and is responsible for the issuing of child employment permits and entertainment licences for school age children.

In enforcing attendance, education social workers have a variety of powers to help them ensure that children are properly educated. These include the issuing of penalty notice fines or the prosecution of parents who fail to ensure their children do attend school regularly. The local authority can also serve a notice or school attendance order on a parent requiring the parent to register their child at school if the child is not in receipt of a suitable and appropriate education.

A good way of finding information and locations for GPs, hospitals, dentists, opticians, pharmacies and other health services is to use the NHS Choices website. NHS Choices also contains advice on a range of health and lifestyle issues. You can get quick answers to medical questions and the site also contains symptom checkers, self-help guides, common health questions, an A-Z of conditions and treatments, the NHS 111 initial assessment tool and useful phone numbers. NHS 111 makes it easier to access local NHS healthcare services when people need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency.

Health visitors support and educate families from pregnancy through to a child's fifth birthday. Common tasks include:

  • Offering parenting support and advice on family health and minor illnesses;
  • New birth visits which include advice on feeding, weaning and dental health;
  • Physical and developmental checks; and
  • Providing families with specific support on subjects such as post natal depression.

Health visitors work closely with other professionals, such as nursery nurses and children's centre workers, and retain the overview of the health and wellbeing of children and families in their area. They provide four levels of service to families: community, universal, universal plus and universal partnership plus. The Family Nurse Partnership provides intensive support for teenage parents.

In North Yorkshire, health visiting is provided by Harrogate and District Foundation Trust.

Healthy Choices is a free 12-week programme for five to 19 year olds who are above a healthy weight. We will work with you and your whole family for 12 weeks, delivering fun and interactive sessions on a whole range of different topics around nutrition, health and lifestyles. You can find out more about Healthy Choices here.

A parent partnership co-ordinator can be contacted through North Yorkshire's education offices or on 01609 536923. The parent partnership co-ordinators offer impartial advice and support which could include making a home visit to listen to any concerns families may have, or attending meetings with them. They can also be able to put families in touch with other organisations or parent support groups.

The parent partnership service will work closely with independent supporters locally commissioned by the Council for Disabled Children to provide advice and support for parents of children and young people with special educational needs through the statutory assessment and education, health and care plan processes.

North Yorkshire Children's Trust has developed a multi-agency  parenting strategy (pdf / 1 MB), which covers the county and is designed to provide support to families who are struggling to parent their children. This includes programmes for parents of children on the autistic spectrum. A range of programmes are available across the age range from 0-19. In addition the strategy is underpinned by two approaches: The Solihull approach and the solution focussed approach.

Local police currently have mechanisms in place through the safer neighbourhood teams to identify and engage with local young people which are well developed and embedded with a co-ordinated multi agency approach. The safer neighbourhood teams' work closely with the youth justice service, youth support service and early intervention teams to identify young people at risk of involvement in offending and anti-social behaviour and to divert them through a range of interventions. See the North Yorkshire Policing web page for more details.

Neighbourhood schools' officers and schools' intervention officers are deployed in the county to deliver a package on a range of issues, from drugs to road safety, with a view to education and crime prevention.

The protecting vulnerable person's unit will be referred to in more serious matters involving safeguarding issues and will jointly investigate those concerns in accordance with local and national guidance. The young people requiring the most extensive and persistent multi agency involvement, regarding their risk when missing from home, are referred to the youth support service for help and support.

In North Yorkshire we recognise that schools offer a wide range of services and support delivered by a range of external and internal providers, and there are good examples of integrated working.

Most provision sits within the universal offering such as differentiated learning, and more targeted intervention through use of pupil premium to narrow the gap for vulnerable and underachieving groups. Many schools offer outreach through home school liaison and parent support advisers. There are a range of services externally provided but internally managed such as counselling, family coaches and a variety of therapeutic services. In addition, some schools provide parent and family learning opportunities, and some schools offer accredited training.

Certain schools in each area of the county have been designated as enhanced mainstream schools, to deliver specialist support to other schools in dealing with a range of issues, such as behaviour management and English as an additional language.

Schools can access 'additional and different' support through the local authority specialist support service. This includes a number of centrally-retained services: early years and portage; autism outreach support and sensory and / or physical / medical support. In addition to this, the local authority commissions services from special schools including outreach support for children with severe and complex learning difficulties, augmentative and alternative communication users and autism.

School nursing provide a variety of services to young people aged from five to 19 years, such as providing health and sex education within schools, carrying out developmental screening, undertaking health interviews and administering immunisation programmes. They offer advice and support for a whole range of issues including bereavement, divorce and separation, self-harm, drinking alcohol, feeling too thin/fat, body changes, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and chlamydia screening. See the Harrogate and district NHS Foundation Trust school nursing page for details.

In North Yorkshire work is underway to implement Government guidance to revitalise school nursing and ensure the service meets local needs and fully delivers the healthy child programme. This includes the need to strengthen delivery at universal level and support early help.

The special educational needs of most children and young people can be met effectively through action taken by their setting, mainstream school or further education institution with advice and support from early help services.

The current levels of intervention for pupils with special educational needs of early action, early action plus and school action, school action plus will be replaced by a single category of additional education needs, following a change of legislation in 2014 (the Children and Families Act). This will apply to early years settings, all schools and further education institutions.

  • From within their delegated budgets the teacher or the special educational needs co-ordinator will arrange to provide support for the child or young person that is additional to and different from the setting's usual approach to help children or young people learn and if necessary will consult specialists and request help from external services.
  • Where the child or young person requires support beyond that which the school can provide, the local authority arranges appropriate provision. Statements of special educational need will be replaced by education, health and care plans, bringing together assessments from the statutory agencies and co-ordinating planning together with the family and young person.

The local offer is published by the local authority to provide information for parents and carers on all the provision locally available from the statutory agencies and wider partners. A young person's version is also provided. See our local offer page for more details.

Overall, teenage pregnancy rates in North Yorkshire are lower than the national average but there are areas in the county where they are higher. Support is available for young people who are pregnant. Schools should provide support during pregnancy and after the baby is born. This should aim to keep a young person in education and to return to full-time education as soon as possible after the birth, with childcare support. The successes have been achieved through developing Compass REACH, contraception and sexual health open access services across the community and integrating across all services working with young people. There has been a robust approach to identify young people at risk of early conception early and improve their resilience, through improving their knowledge and skills to experience positive relationships and have good sexual health. Schools support has improved to develop healthy schools outcomes related to risk-taking behaviour and ensuring schools deliver a robust personal, social, health curriculum.

Young people accessing termination are offered support by targeted youth support and in the Scarborough area young parents have access to two years intensive support from the family nurse partnership.

General information can be found through our teenage pregnancy and sexual health page. The YorSexualHealth website contains everything people need to know about accessing sexual health services in North Yorkshire and York.

The youth justice service supports preventative and diversionary services to help vulnerable young people stay out of trouble, and support the police with programmes to accompany youth cautions and conditional cautions. They work closely with the families of young people who offend, with local schools and other community services to help young people to get their lives back on track and achieve positive outcomes. They provide education and training support, health and substance misuse services and advice on such things as housing and employment. Details can be found on the North Yorkshire youth justice service website.