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Early start

Your local children’s centres and health visiting services are coming together to form early start teams.

Early start recognises the importance of early intervention and giving every child, in every community, the best start in life. 

Early start services for children and families will work closely together in your area.  This will include a variety of staff such as:  health visitors, children’s centre staff, community nurses and family outreach workers.  They will continue to work with GPs, midwives, schools and youth services amongst others.

Early start will deliver services such as health, childcare, play, early learning and development to meet the needs of children and families from pregnancy up to your child’s 5th birthday.

We will ensure the right staff deliver the right services which meet the needs of young children and families in Leeds.

It will provide the right services, in the right place, at the right time for all children and families from pregnancy up to your child’s 5th birthday.

Children’s services director, Nigel Richardson, said “It’s about ensuring services are streamlined rather than duplicated and that information is shared by all professionals who are working with children.” 

Frequently asked questions:

Will the introduction of Early start mean that I will have a new Health Visitor?

For some families there may be a change in their Health Visitor. If your Health Visiting team is changing you will be notified by letter. If you are in contact with your Health Visitor she will let you know. Most families Health Visitor will not change.

Where will I take my child now to get them weighed and talk about my child’s development?

You can continue to go to your local Health Centre or in many areas Well Baby Clinics are being held in Children's Centres alongside a range of other activities. Contact your Health Centre/Children's Centre for up to date details. ​​

Health visiting team and children's centre locator tool.

How will I know my Health Visitor and my local Children's Centre?

The local Health Centre and Children's Centre will have all those details. If you don't get a letter telling you that the Health Visitor has changed, then nothing has. You can ring any Health Visiting team or Children's Centre and they will be able to tell you the name of your local children's centre.​

Find your local children's centre and health visiting team

Where will my family information be kept and who will have access to this?

Your information will be held on both paper and electronic records. Only people who are directly working with you will have access to these. Paper records are always kept in a locked cabinet in a locked room within either a Health Centre or children’s centre. All electronic based information is password protected and all our staff have the appropriate checks performed before access is given to them to view your information. Information will be shared between Early Start Teams (Health Visitors and Children's Centre staff).​

Does Early Start mean that I have to attend groups?

Only if you want to. We hope there will be some groups/courses that you would find useful and enjoy. Services delivered by Early Start teams are open to everyone - some are more popular than others. If you do not want to access early start services you may be asked to formally opt out. Some of your child's development assessments may be conducted where there are other children present and play activities are being offered.​

Can I only go to the Children's Centre within my Early Start area?

​No - all children's centres are for all children across Leeds. You may be asked to register at the centre nearest to where you live.