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Levels of Need

The levels of need have been developed to provide a common language for professionals and families to help in the process of identifying and responding to the needs of children/young people.

Establishing a level of need allows for early identification and referral to the most appropriate support services.

The four levels are:

  • Universal

  • Vulnerable

  • Complex

  • Acute

The Continuum of Need demonstrates that the needs of children, young people and families lie along a continuum and are not static.  This highlights the necessity for them to be supported by flexible and responsive services which become increasingly targeted and specialist according to need.

Level 1 Universal

Children with no additional needs. Children who make good overall progress in all areas of universal development and receive appropriate universal services.

Level 2 Vulnerable

Children with additional needs. Children whose health and development may be adversely affected and who would benefit from extra help in order to make the best of their life chances.

Level 3 Complex

Children with multiple needs. Children whose health and/or development is being impaired or there is a high risk of significant impairment.

Level 4 Acute

Children in need of protection. Children who are experiencing significant harm or where there is a high likelihood of significant harm.

Threshold Tool

Further information about the Levels of Need including example indicators for each level, can be found within the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board document Threshold Tool.

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