Levels of Need

This information is to help professionals assess and understand the needs of a family who may require additional support in order to thrive. The majority of families will never go beyond Universal Services. Others will only dip into additional services while others will need varying levels of support throughout their lives. The Levels of Need are designed to support professionals when making decisions about what level of support a family needs and what tools and other agencies are available to support this work.

Who should use this?

Any professional or agency who is in contact with children, young people and their families, who has a concern about them but requires initial advice about how to support them. Any service provider who requires clarity on the Levels of Need to enable them to be consistent in how they can offer the best support to a family. It should be noted that all professionals from all agencies have a shared responsibility to keep children safe and provide effective, efficient and co-ordinated services to support their health and wellbeing. The table below outlines the five levels of need to help you identify what level you need to work at and the actions to take.

It is important to remember, when making a decision about what Level of Need a family are in, that:

  • The child's safety and wellbeing is paramount
  • Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility. Early Help is everyone's responsibility
  • Put yourself in the child's place
  • Think - what is their lived experience?
  • Do not fail to act. Your piece of the jigsaw could make the difference
  • Trafford have adopted a Restorative approach to supporting families. We will 'do with' families, not 'for' or 'to' families
  • A child is aged 0 - 18. However, if they have a disability this extends to age 25
Levels of Need Table
At this level the child or family...
What needs to happen next?Assessment required/referral process
Universal - Level 1 (further information) ...is thriving without requirement for additional support and all needs are being met by universal services, for example Health Visitor, School Nurse, Dentist or School. Ensure that all families are aware of the Family Information Service and are registered with Education and Training providers, Health Services and Community Groups. Use of Trafford Directory
Early Help/ Prevention - Level 2 (further information) …may require or would benefit from additional input or support from an agency/ agencies When a child begins to display emerging needs requiring additional support, services already working with the child should support the family by undertaking an assessment and developing an Outcome Plan. This will identify support from within the local community or a specific intervention.

Early Help Assessment

Referral form for specific agency

For advice and guidance contact an Early Help Champion

Intensive Family Support - Level 3 (further information)

…are experiencing multiple and/or complex needs. The family is struggling to effect change without the support and intervention of services.

There is a need greater level of support including regular home visits.
If a child or family's issues are more complex and cannot be managed within the community, and the family consent, additional support can be sourced through Intensive Family Support. This would include support in the home, pulling in multi-agency partners who are, or need to be, involved with the child and family in order to achieve a positive outcome.

Early Help Assessment

Referring agency to complete referral form (by uploading the Early Help Assessment)

Child in Need - Level 4 (further information) ...is unlikely to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision of services. The child’s health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision of additional services; or the child is disabled. As the child and family’s issues continue to escalate, or if interventions are not working, and it is felt that the needs cannot be met without the intervention of social care. There should be a sound record of interventions and support offered previously by services to highlight why social intervention is required.

Referring agency to complete referral

Child and Family Assessment

Child Protection - Level 5 (further information) ...is at risk of or suffering significant harm and is in need of help and protection. Has a high level of unmet and complex needs requiring statutory interventions These children require immediate social care intervention to ensure continued safety and positive development and to prevent significant harm. This may lead to them becoming subject to a Multi-Agency Child Protection (CP) Plan or becoming Looked After. Any child subject to a CP Plan or Looked After will have social care intervention already in place.

Referring agency to complete referral

Child and Family Assessment