Early Support: An Integrated and Person-Centered Approach

The Early Support programme ran from 2002 to 2015 funded by the Department for Education. It aimed to improve the way that services work with parents and carers of disabled children and young people from birth to adulthood across health, education and social care.

It played an integral role in coordinating and bringing together key professionals from across the education, health and social care sector to support the transition and implementation of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) reforms.

Early Support was built on and underpinned by 10 principles that aim to improve the delivery and coordination of family services and provide families with a single point of contact. In doing so Early Support focused on ensuring that service delivery is child, young person and family centred and that services and practitioners work in partnership with children, young people and their families. The 10 principles that Early Support is based on are as follows:

  1. Valued uniqueness
  2. Planning partnerships
  3. Key working
  4. Birth to adulthood
  5. Learning and development
  6. Informed choices
  7. Ordinary lives
  8. Participation
  9. Working together
  10. Workforce development

Many of the Early Support principles can be seen reflected in the Section 19 of the Children and Families Act 2014 which emphasises the importance of person-centred outcomes and the active participation of children, young people and parent carers. 

A summary of the Early Support principles and how they relate to the Children and Families Act 2014 Section 19 principles in relation to local authorities is available to download by clicking here. You can also find a guide to the Early Support programme under the Related To tab at the end of this page. The guide provides a detailed account of the guiding principles and philosophy behind Early Support as well as practical advice on how to deliver an integrated and person-centred programme of support.

What’s happening now?

Following government funding decisions the Early Support programme ended on 31st March 2015 ending the support role delivered by the Early Support Regional Facilitators. We have retained all the resources developed through the programme which you can access through the CDC Resources Hub or using the links below.