Transfer to Children's Social Work Service from Early Help

Scope of this chapter

This chapter explains the process for transferring cases (step up) from Early Help to Children’s Social Work Services. It also describes what will happen when a case is ready to 'step down' from Children’s Social Services to Early Help or single agency involvement.

See also: Leeds Safeguarding Children's Partnership - Early Help Approach and Strategy.


This chapter was added to the manual in June 2015.

June 1, 2015

Universal and Targeted Services will meet the needs of the majority of children and families in Leeds. It is an expectation that where families require support, their needs will be routinely identified and met through a single agency response or a multi-agency Early Help Assessment and Early Help Plan.

Practitioners may need to seek advice and information when working with a family where the needs are not being met despite an Early Help Plan being in place. Where this is the case, practitioners can seek advice and information from their own agency line managers and agency safeguarding leads (if this support is available).

If this support is not available, practitioners can seek advice and information through a conversation with Duty and Advice at the Front Door.

When a practitioner is concerned that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm, they must follow West Yorkshire Consortium Safeguarding Procedures and ensure the contact Duty and Advice at the Front Door immediately.

Outcomes of the contact to Duty and Advice at the Front Door include:

  • Advice is given to the practitioner and no referral accepted;
  • An Early Help Assessment and Early Help Plan is needed. The Integrated Processes Team at the Front door will advise;
  • A Child and Family Single Assessment is considered; or
  • An immediate emergency response.

Early Help assessments that have been registered and received by the Integrated Processes Team at the Front Door can be used by CSWS to inform the Child and Family Single Assessment. This can save a lot of time and duplication for practitioners and for the child and their family.

Outcomes of the Child and Family Single Assessment include:

  • A social worker is allocated and a plan is developed to meet the need - this might be a Child in Need Plan or a Child Protection Plan;
  • In rare occasions, emergency protective action may be taken and the child becomes Looked After either in the short term or longer term;
  • Ongoing Children's Social Work Service is not required and the Early Help practitioner is given advice on how to access universal and targeted support to meet the child's needs.

Transfer from Children's Social Work Service takes place either as an outcome of the Child and Family Assessment or following social work involvement because the needs have been met and/or the risks to the child have decreased.

The child’s needs may now be able to be met through a multi-agency Early Help Plan by a Team around the Child (TAC) / Team Around the Family (TAF) with a Lead Practitioner or through a single agency response or through universal services only.

Plans to transfer to Early Help should be discussed and agreed at a Child in Need review meeting, or review Child Protection Conference.

Steps should be taken to identify a Lead Practitioner from an agency already involved with the family or the relevant practitioner if a single agency response is the outcome.

Following the meeting the case should be closed to the social worker who will provide a summary of advice to the identified Lead Practitioner or single agency practitioner. This should give the reasons

for the end of the plan and include the views of the practitioners involved, and the views, wishes and feelings of the child / young person and their parent / carers.

Families will not be expected to undergo another assessment, or immediately attend another meeting as the final social work plan and the most current Child and Family Assessment will be shared with the Lead Practitioner or single agency practitioner.

Where necessary to facilitate this transfer, the Social Work Team Manager and the local Targeted Services Leader may have a conversation to identify the right response. However, this may not be necessary if the lead practitioner has been identified.

If the decision is that the child's needs can be met in universal services and there is no need for an Early Help Plan or response, this must be clearly communicated to those agencies currently involved with the child and family.

The social worker should confirm what is happening in writing to the family and to the relevant agencies.

Last Updated: July 28, 2022