Last Reviewed March 2023

One Minute Guide to Continuum of Need: A Framework to Support Decision Making

What is Wakefield District's Continuum of Need?

The Continuum of Need has been developed to help those who work or volunteer with children and families across the Wakefield District with making decisions about how to best provide support.

This approach is aligned to the district's Wakefield Families Together model, where a child and their family receive the right help, at the right time, from the right service, and importantly, from the right person, whilst always acting in the best interests of a child.


  • Children and families can move across the areas of need on the continuum according to circumstances changes as their situation changes
  • Not all children and families will move up and down the areas of need in a sequential manner. When deciding on what support is appropriate, the presence of a single or multiple combination of factors, the age of the child and protective factors all need to be considered
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  • Text link image Which Agencies are involved?
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    Wakefield Families Together is a partnership of services that join up across Children and Young People's Services, Health and Education services and Voluntary Sector and Community organisations.

    The approach of the Continuum of Need is aligned to the district’s Wakefield Families Together model, where a child and their family receive the right help, at the right time, from the right service, and importantly, from the right person, whilst always acting in the best interests of a child.

    Visit the Wakefield Families Together website for more information and to view the range of support available.

Where are our 6 Community Clusters?

Wakefield Central and North West Cluster
Sunbeam Family Hubs 01924 302 333 & Stanley Family Hubs 01924 303 181

Wakefield South West Cluster
Castle Family Hub 01924 303 376

Normanton and Featherstone Cluster
Butterflies Family Hubs 01924 307 835 & Oakhill Family hubs 01977 723 923

South East Cluster
Cedars Family Hubs 01977 722 215 & Havercroft Family Hubs 01924 306 312

Castleford and Airedale Cluster
Kendal Drive Family Hub 01977 723 543

Pontefract and Knottingley Cluster
Pomfret Family Hub 01977 722 644

Take me to Wakefield Families Together clusters
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What are the Areas of Need in The Continuum of Need?

We have 4 broad areas of need which can overlap, therefore the divisions between the areas should not be conceived as ‘hard and fast’, these are:

  • No Additional Support Needed
  • Early Support
  • Requires More Support
  • Requires Immediate Safeguarding Support
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  • No Additional Support Needed
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    Most children reach their full potential through the care of their families and communities. Universal services are provided to all children and their families through community networks such as schools, primary healthcare, family and youth hubs, leisure services, voluntary and community groups.

  • Early Support
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    Early Support provides help when a need is identified at any point in a child’s life. It is not a service specific to one organisation, but rather a collaborative approach across all agencies and partners to work with children and families to prevent the need for statutory intervention.

    Across the Wakefield District, every person working or volunteering with children and families, regardless of organisation, status or position, has a responsibility to support the delivery of early support and where needed, ensure a family has access to appropriate services.

  • Requires More Support
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    Children whose needs are more complex, based on a range of needs and depth or significance of the needs. They are at risk of social or educational exclusion. Their health, welfare, social or educational development is being impaired and life chances will be impaired without the provision of additional services.

  • Requires Immediate Safeguarding Support
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    Some children may require an immediate referral to the Integrated Front Door (IFD) / Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for an assessment to be completed to better understand their needs.

  • Text link image What is the ‘Team Around’ approach?
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    Children who are on roll at school and/or early years provision and who need a coordinated response to help access early support from a team of practitioners from different services dependent on their need. The Team Around meetings are made up of professionals from across the local authority and partner organisations including:

    • Family and Youth Hub Team

    • Future In Mind, Primary Intervention Practitioners

    • Educational Improvement Teachers

    • 0-19 Health Service (including School Nursing)

    For further info on the Team Around School and Team Around the Early Years, please click here.

  • Text link image Who can I Contact?
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    Accessing Early and More Support

    If you are worried about a child and you have identified that they need early help and support, which does not meet the threshold for statutory intervention but is beyond a single agency response you may speak to your agency safeguarding lead or single point of contact as per your agency’s arrangements or local Family Hub in the first instance. At times it is helpful in developing the next best steps for the child and family you are working with.

    Accessing Immediate Safeguarding Support

    Where practitioners are working with a child and consider/suspect that a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm a phone call should be made to Wakefield’s Integrated Front Door (IFD) on 0345 8503 503.

    There is one front door, (IFD, Integrated Front Door) for children and young people of the Wakefield District, where practitioners are encouraged to ring to discuss their concerns. Within IFD is MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) which is made up of professionals from the police, education, health and housing, who all sit together in one room with Children’s Social Care (CSC) staff. Practitioners will speak with experienced staff who can offer advice and information. If the concern reaches the threshold for CSC then a contact will be created, screened and if deemed necessary information sharing with partners will take place. This will determine that children receive the right help, support and protection at the right time.

The following documents can help you in making decisions

  • For more information about Wakefield’s early help strategy, assessing safety needs, and how to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) please download the full Continuum of Need.

  • Wakefield Early Help Strategy The strategy sets out the Children and Young People’s Partnership Board’s ambition for the development of prevention and early intervention approaches

Download this One Minute Guide to Continuum of Need Click here to Download

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