The department is taking a number of steps with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) aimed at improving outreach methods for parents and children in need of early intervention services.
Statutory guidance 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs early. So we are introducing new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, which put responsibility jointly on local authorities, health and police to put in place services that meet the needs of children and families locally. In making their local arrangements, the safeguarding partners should agree with other relevant agencies the levels for the different types of assessment and services to be commissioned and delivered – which could include outreach services. In implementing these new arrangements, my department is working closely with the DHSC, as well as the Home Office.
On 4 December 2017 the government published the 'Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision' green paper. It sets out our ambition to go further to ensure that children and young people showing early signs of distress are always able to access the right help, in the right setting, when they need it. There is clear evidence that schools and colleges can, and do, play a vital role in identifying mental health needs at an early stage, referring young people to specialist support and working jointly with others to support young people experiencing problems. We will fund new mental health support teams to provide specific extra capacity for early intervention and ongoing help, supervised by NHS children and young people’s mental health staff, whose work will be jointly managed by schools and the NHS.
My department is also working with Public Health England (an executive agency of DHSC) to help fulfil its ambition in 'Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential', published in December 2017, to close the word gap in the early years. This includes work to trial an early language assessment tool and deliver training and guidance for health visitors on early speech, language and communication needs.