Families First News

The latest news

Free Training on Universal Credit

Hertfordshire County Council’s Money Advice Unit are delighted to announce that their first Universal Credit e-learning course is now available. We have developed it in partnership with Child Poverty Action Group, the UK’s leading benefits advice specialists.

The course can be accessed from www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/benefits

Click on the link on the right hand side of the page called ’courses for professionals – universal credit’.

The course is free and you can access this short, interactive learning from your tablet, phone, laptop or PC. The course takes about 30 – 40 minutes to complete. You can do it in one session or spread it over a time to suit yourself. 

Try this essential practical learning on financial support for working age adults and their families. Universal credit is a complete change to the benefit system for working age people. Through interactive quizzes and activities you will look at how universal credit works including:

  • who can get universal credit
  • amounts of universal credit
  • claiming universal credit
  • the claimant commitment
  • moving to universal credit

There are also resources to update you on changes to universal credit during the coronavirus outbreak, and links to local sources of support In Hertfordshire.

The course can be used by anyone who works with the public – council, NHS, voluntary sector or housing association. You can even make it available to members of the public.

We hope you enjoy our new e-learning course. Don’t forget to fill out our evaluation form when you have completed the course as we welcome your comments and feedback.


In addition you may be interested in Registering to receive the DWP Newsletter - Touchbase which is sent out each week to keep you up to date on changes. Please also view a letter from the Partnership Manager for Waltham Cross, Hatfield and Hertford Jobcentres which has some useful links.

Good practice example video and resource pack

The short video and activity pack links below were put together by Children’s Practitioners in Family Safeguarding at HCC. We thought this may be useful to partners working directly with families.

Download the resources below:-

Coronavirus Activity
Building a ‘Safe Network’
All About Me
House of worries, good things and dreams
Worker Only : Early Warning Signs
Worker Only : Support Hands
How do you feel today?
Label the Feelings Cards
I feel calm, safe and relaxed
I'm an Amazing Person Activity
Worker guidance session plan for direct work video session
My worry cloud
Letter to child
Happiness honeycomb
Hand template
Childrens Graded Care Profile - shorter activity

Fit, Fed and Read Update

Herts Sports Partnership are currently establishing a partnership with schools in each area (local to fire stations) to deliver the Fit, Fed and Read project in the summer. The aim is to run as close as possible to traditional delivery as the need for Fit, Fed and Read provision has been enervated by lockdown.

For more information on the Fit, Fed and Read programme and the referral process please visit :- https://sportinherts.org.uk/sport-for-social-change/fitfedread/#content




Good Campaign Posters

We have been sent a number of campaign posters which you may wish to download for your own services.

You can download the Know Look Act poster here.

Change, Grow, Live are currently posting a series of helpful messages aimed at non-dependent drinkers who (due to isolation and anxiety under lockdown) may be drinking increasingly more and earlier on during the day.

Our decision to focus on alcohol has been motivated by recent findings by Alcohol Change UK: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/blog/2020/covid19-drinking-during-lockdown-headline-findings.


You can download the below Sunflower leaflet here

Partner Service Update

Below are updates from countywide HCC teams and Partners, please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to include your service on this page. (for local updates please visit the Local Update Pages)

Domestic Abuse Services
Family Centres
YC Hertfordshire
Health Visitors
Parenting Together Support Programme
Citizens Advice
Drug and Alcohol Services
Herts Sports Partnership
Money Advice
Mental Health Services
Gambling addiction
Families in Focus
Family Lives
Carers in Hertfordshire

Domestic Abuse Services

Across Hertfordshire, all domestic abuse services are still operating, and our top priority is to ensure victims get the support they need.

For frontline professionals and members of the public, all current services and referral routes into services remain the same. Our services have adapted the way they work to continue offering a service to victims, even during lockdown. View information on pathways


Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) Service

The IDVA service are continuing to offer support to all victims of domestic abuse around safety, security and well-being.  Refuges are still accepting victims into the accommodation and legal orders can still be applied for to protect victims from further abuse. 

If you have anyone needing advice and support please complete the referral form and return it to hertsIDVA@refuge.org.uk (duty) where the case will be allocated to an IDVA to provide advice and support.

The duty number is still available 0300 790 6772 which can be provided to the public to contact, this is for the Hertfordshire service (Monday to Friday 9-5)

The 24hr helpline is still available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.


Domestic Abuse Live Chat Launched by Safer Places

Safer Places have launched a new live chat service to support those experiencing, or at risk of abuse

The new service enables anyone experiencing abuse to chat directly with a member of the Safer Places team.

The measures announced to tackle coronavirus (COVID 19) have seen day to day life change dramatically and undoubtedly made it harder for people to access support services as survivors are isolated with abusers with small windows of opportunity to speak. This new service will give survivors the opportunity to access support discreetly.

The service provides survivors with information and supports individuals to make choices about how to increase their safety, the safety of their family and make decisions about their future. Research tells us that more and more of us go online to find information and look for answers. Safer Places online chat service is available both day and night and enables those who feel safer seeking support online to chat to a qualified professional to get confidential support and advice when, where, and how they want it. 

The new service will initially be open between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday and 8pm - 8am Fri - Sun 8pm - 8am 

Our emergency line will remain open 24/7 please call 03301 025 811 for more information about how to access our services.


Family Centres : Update from Family Support Service

During these times of uncertainty, we hope that you and your teams are keeping well.

As with many services across Hertfordshire, we too have reviewed our usual ways of working to ensure the health and safety of our teams and the families we support. 

We are however continuing to offer our services to families, with some small tweaks to how the 1:1 and group support is delivered – therefore, our referral pathway remains unaffected at this time.

Some of the changes that we have made include:

  • We are now providing the support, advice and guidance through telephone and video-calling where possible.
  • A new response approach has been developed for parents who are experiencing the most challenging situations at this time.
  • We are providing digital material on our Facebook and Instagram pages for ALL families to access at a time that suits them, such as home learning ideas and activities, Story Times and Rhyme Time sessions.  Families will just need to follow our pages.
  • Some families are receiving Parenting Group support through Zoom sessions, with more planned for the future.
  • Key information such as ‘Preparing for Baby’ antenatal support and Introduction to Solids advice and guidance is still available for families to access – they can book as usual through Eventbrite and will then be provided with details to our new platform where they can access the online video links. 
  • Families who were booked on to attend face to face sessions are being contacted directly to ensure that they receive the new online information
  • Future plans include developing digital material that supports all of our emerging needs offer, such as Early Talk and Oral Health.

If you know of a family who would benefit from some support, please contact the relevant Team Leader or Manager, prior to completing the referral form to discuss the family’s needs and the support available - Phone: 0300 123 7572. Alternatively you can refer the family directly: https://www.hertsfamilycentres.org/professionals-area/family-centre-professionals-area.aspx


Health Visitors :

For families with children aged under 5 and school nurses ( for families with children aged 5-19 ) are still working. To get in touch please ring the duty line on: 0300 123 7572 Monday to Friday

The duty line is available to professionals and to families for advice and support.

Or go to the Family Centre Service website   https://www.hertsfamilycentre.org

Two great links are: Health for Kids – local health services and advice for children aged 4 to 11 years old.

Health for teens – bite-sized info and advice for 11 to 19 year olds in Hertfordshire.


YC Hertfordshire - Support for young people during the coronavirus outbreak

YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People face-to-face work is currently suspended following government rules on staying at home in order to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, but we are still supporting young people in many ways.

Young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a wide range of issues via phone and email. Youth Workers and Personal Advisers can help and work with young people one-to-one and in monitored online youth projects with other young people.

Services for Young People youth projects and all other face-to-face work is currently suspended, but young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a range of issues, including health and wellbeing and sexual health from qualified Youth Workers and Personal Advisers. For the moment this will be via phone or email. https://www.ychertfordshire.org/support-for-young-people/support-for-young-people-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

We are also looking to increase our capacity of our Supporting You programme, which we feel will benefit many young people at this time: https://www.ychertfordshire.org/media/870233/084376-supporting-you_professionals-dl-leaflet_jan-19_v2_5a.pdf a referral to this programme is the same as the above.

In addition to the monitored online youth projects young people can still get information, advice, guidance and support on a wide range of issues via phone and email. Youth Workers and Personal Advisers can help and work with young people one-to-one.

  • YC Herts will be starting detached youth work again focusing on supporting those young people vulnerable to exploitation and becoming involved gangs.  This is an area where activity appears to have dropped during lock down but will undoubtedly emerge again in the coming months.


Parenting Together Support Programme

Important changes

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families.

The providers of the Parenting Together Support Programme are continuing to offer therapeutic help by switching from face-to-face therapy to video based sessions until the current emergency is over.

We've switched to online referrals only at this time

As more practitioners are working from home and supporting families via video call/telephone, the online referral form will be the version to use from now on.  For more details on this and the difference in gaining consent, please follow this link


Herts Sports Partnership

We are currently establishing a partnership with schools in each area (local to fire station) to deliver the Fit, Fed and Read project in the summer. The aim is to run as close as possible to traditional delivery as the need for FFR provision has been enervated by lockdown.


The referral process is now open at the following link:- https://sportinherts.org.uk/sport-for-social-change/fitfedread/#content



We're still here to help!

Click here to enter your postcode or town and find your local Citizens Advice and details of current opening hours and services.

CAB have just today launched a short access survey online (https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XBM3Y39) to help us plan for future delivery.  We're keen to understand whether people's access needs have changed in light of Covid so we can plan future service delivery. 


Herts Sports Partnership

HSP are establishing a partnership with schools in each area (local to fire station) to deliver the Fit, Fed and Read project in the summer. The referral process is now live. The aim is to run as close as possible to traditional delivery as the need for FFR provision has been enervated by lockdown.

Please visit the link for more information



Drug and Alcohol Support

CGL Spectrum coronavirus response update 31-03-2020

A quick reminder that we are displaying local updates for people that use our service here: www.changegrowlive.org/spectrum-hertfordshire-drug-alcohol-services. And you can still call (0800 652 3169) and email us during normal opening hours (Herts@cgl.org.uk) keep in touch!

We are continuing to…

1. Offer 1-1s, appointments and other psychosocial support over the phone.

2. Accept new referrals and assess new clients as usual (over the phone)

3. Keep our Stevenage, Hertford, Watford and Hatfield hubs open Monday- Friday for needle exchange and office working

4. Look into practical alternatives so that we can hold groups remotely

5. Work hard to deliver safe storage boxes, naloxone take-home and other harm reduction resources to our vulnerable clients

6. Work in the Lister and Watford General Hospitals

Useful resources:

  • Breaking Free Online (the access code is herts11)
  • Apps and websites to help people with drug or alcohol problems: www.changegrowlive.org/advice-info/alcohol-drugs


Resolve - Drug and alcohol Support

We hope you are all keeping safe and well during this time!

Resolve provides psychosocial drug and alcohol support for those struggling with Substance Misuse. Due to current circumstances, we are operating slightly differently to normal, however we are still offering the following support;

  • Supporting clients all over Hertfordshire from our 2 hubs in WGC and Letchworth
  • Offering online psychosocial group support 4 times a week via Zoom
  • Taking new referrals and assessing and supporting over the phone
  • Conducting 121 key work support and counselling with our trained counsellors over the phone or via Zoom


Mental Health Services

The wide range of support for people who have mental health concerns includes:

· Herts Help – a signposting and advice service which can help direct people to the right support - 0300 123 4044 or email info@hertshelp.net
· Hertfordshire Mind Network crisis helpline – 01923 256 391
· NHS HPFT’s Single Point of Access - for people in a mental health crisis who live in Hertfordshire - 0300 777 0707 from 8am – 7pm, 01438 843322 out of hours or email: hpft.spa@nhs.net
· Samaritans - 116 123, 24 hours a day, every day
· The national NHS ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has expert advice and practical tips for people experiencing anxiety, low mood and sleep problems - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/


Healthy Young Minds in Herts

The below website has a Professionals, Schools, Parents/ Carers and Young Persons section.  The schools section requires a log in and includes key training slides, lesson plans, resources, video clips, a Mental Health Leads toolkit and information about the Whole School & College Approach to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health kitemark accreditation which is part of our ongoing offer to all Hertfordshire schools. COVID Pages have open access please see key links below. 

The website is updated on a regular basis in the current context



Herts Mind Network

Please see the current timetable and support services for anyone struggling with their mental health.

Their free one to one Peer Support service is also operating via telephone not face to face.

They have offices in Letchworth, Borehamwood, Watford, Hemel, Waltham Cross, Bishops Stortford and Borehamwood. They offer support to anyone living in Hertfordshire.


Mind in Mid Herts Service Update

Mind in Mid Herts are pleased to announce that they are providing another set of their online ‘Living Well’ Courses. These courses equip people with the understanding and tools that they need to manage their mental health in everyday life; covering how to deal with stress, anxiety, depression and sleep. Mind in Mid Herts’ Living Well courses are FREE to use and are run on Zoom over a four week period. For more information and to book onto the courses, visit their website: www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/training-and-workshops/courses-workshops/living-well/

We continue to take referrals and people can telephone 03303 208100 or self refer online www.mindinmidherts.org.uk

We have developed a program for social support on line. To access this service please go to our website or call 03303 208100

We have received funding that allows us to offer all our courses and workshops free of charge, people can register here https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/training-and-workshops/courses-workshops/living-well/ for:

  • Feeling well, to reduce feelings of depression and sadness
  • Building Courage, to manage anxiety
  • Learning to relax, coping with stress
  • Staying well at work
  • Sleep workshop

We also have free, live mindfulness sessions each day for our frontline workers and you can register if you are a carer, work in health, including pharmacies, social care, funeral directors and associated workforces that are supporting people in any way including as volunteers. Also included in this offer is the blue light services, please click on this link for more information - https://www.mindinmidherts.org.uk/home/training-support-for-front-line-workers/


Money Advice Unit, HCC

Following recent Government guidance, unfortunately we have had to cancel all remaining face to face Money Advice Unit training in May.

If you are booked on a course in June we will be in touch to let you know if these will be going ahead.

Unfortunately we are not able to accept any further training bookings for the time being.


Families in Focus CIC

FREE Summer courses now scheduled for zoom too and even the courses that show full, we will take parents on a wait list as some may not be able to attend zoom meetings due to caring needs, no device, or unable to access virtual platforms etc.

Our courses are accredited by CANparent (certificates attached) as being evidence based and effective and we have a proven track record of delivering courses that have a positive effect on family life.

This means parents from anywhere in Herefordshire can now attend from the comfort of their own homes so do please share with parents, colleagues, schools and others who support parents across Hertfordshire.

A Complete Guide to Parenting Children with SEND course is free for all parents living in Hertfordshire and caring for primary aged children inclusive of those awaiting diagnosis or with a diagnosis of

all Special Education Needs, Autism, ADHD & Health Needs.


This course will provide parents with:

  • Greater knowledge and understanding of SEND language and acronyms
  • Greater understanding and answer the question, ‘Why does my child do that?’
  • A range of practical strategies to better manage behaviours that challenge.
  • Clearer understanding of anger triggers and strategies to reduce angry meltdowns.
  • Techniques to support siblings living with a sister/brother with additional
  • needs/challenging behaviours.
  • Communication techniques to reduce ‘emotional traffic jams’ and improve your
  • child’s emotional regulation
  • Tried and tested strategies to reduce conflict within your family
  • Understanding of the feelings & emotions of parenting children with special needs
  • Techniques to help manage family stress
  • Increased knowledge of the range of services and organisations that can support you and your family

Starting on June 4th for 10 sessions Book via Eventbrite for our online, virtual course: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/complete-guide-to-parenting-children-withsend-aged-2-11years-stevenage-tickets-98870088095 

6 Tuesday evenings 6.30pm to 8.30pm: June 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th & July 7th

Book via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/handling-anger-in-your-family-primary-agedchildren-tickets-98865546511

6 Wednesday evenings 6.30pm to 8.30pm: June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & July 1st, 8th

Book via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/handling-anger-in-your-family-primary-agerdchildren-hemel-hempstead-tickets-98869825309

6 Wednesday afternoons 12pm to 2pm: June 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & July 1st, 8th

Book via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/handling-anger-in-your-familyprimary-agedchildren-stevenage-tickets-98865879507



We understand that many of our service users will be worried and concerned about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Please be assured that our services are still open, and we offer both telephone support and online support for anyone affected by problem gambling.

The National Gambling Helpline is open 24 hours every day on Freephone 0808 80 20 133, or you can live chat with us.

We appreciate that these are unusual times and for some people coping with the stress of this and self-isolation may increase urges to gamble. Please contact GamCare Hertfordshire for help and support if this is the case – we are here if you need us.

All new assessments for clients into GamCare Hertfordshire will be held over the phone. We will be in touch with all current clients to arrange ongoing telephone support. If you would like to have a chat about what might work best for you, please give us a call on 0143 848 7003.

If you would like to register for online (video) treatment please click here.

Our Forum is also available throughout the day and overnight to connect you to others in similar situations so that you can seek and share support. We are also providing chatroom sessions twice a day and are planning to increase these to provide additional support.

Additionally, our GameChange course is available for those who would like to work through an online course, supported by regular contact with a GamCare therapist.

We also have more information available on blocking software and self-exclusion, plus self-help resources: https://www.gamcare.org.uk/self-help/


Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS update)

With community buildings, schools and other venues shutting their doors, Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service and our network of partners have been busy developing an online version of our courses.

Thanks to the determination of the team, our Spring courses have been taught remotely while the Summer term of courses will also now be delivered in real-time, online, for free.

Meanwhile, our partners are not only delivering planned courses online – they have also developed some additional courses to help cope mentally in this unprecedented crisis affecting us all.

This summer, we will have a range of family courses where both the parent and child(ren) can get involved. These include;

  • Family Mindfulness
  • Family Maths Key Stage 2
  • Family English

During these 2-hour weekly online courses held across 5 weeks, the parent will be able to learn before the child is then involved in the second part of the session in a fun activity.

To access our courses, please visit us at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/haflscourses or call us on 01992 556194. To find out more information on the courses our partners are offering, follow us on Facebook.


BorrowBox - Hertfordshire Libraries online library service!

Our libraries may be closed but our online library is still open! All Hertfordshire Library members can access BorrowBox, allowing you to listen or read our online eBook and eAudiobook catalogue for free.

We have new releases of children’s fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction titles available to download on your phone, tablet or laptop.

For more information visit about how to access our online catalogue visit: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/libraries-and-archives/books-and-reading/ebooks-and-audiobooks/ebooks-and-audiobooks.aspx


Family Lives

Family Lives is a national support charity, providing help and advice to families who are going through a difficult time. Families contact us about all aspects of family life that include all stages of a child’s development, issues with schools and parenting/relationship support. We also respond when life becomes more complicated and provide support around family breakdown, aggression in the home, bullying, teenage risky behaviour and mental health concerns of both parents and their children. If you need support or advice, you can call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or us at www.familylives.org.uk for our forum community, online advice or to register for our monthly newsletter. Follow us on social media @FamilyLives for news and updates

We are delivering free online parenting groups during Covid-19 to support parents. The groups, funded by Herts County Council, are aimed at parents of :

  • Pre Teens/Teens showing challenging behaviour and/or where there is a family first assessment, child in need or child protection plan
  • Children with ADHD

More information on the content is available here.

Our programme of groups due to start next week and our referral form are attached. Please send in password protected referrals to louisev@familylives.org.uk. Parents can book directly through eventbrite.co.uk/family-lives or by emailing louisev@familylives.org.uk.

The groups will be available through MS Teams for up to 6-8 parents for 6 weeks. We are running them early afternoon and in the evening to give greater flexibility for parents to be able to attend.

Can you please circulate this information to your teams and colleagues.

Please also note that our helpline and emails services are both operating normally - 0808 800 2222, askus@familylives.org.uk.

We are currently running an online group for Hertfordshire parents / carers and I wonder if you could add this to your website

Online group - Bringing up Confident Children for Parents of Children with ADHD

Monday 15th June to 20 July 7pm – 9pm

Our programme provides support, information and resources to parents/carers and adult family members so they can help their child reach their full potential. For further details and bookings please follow this link,  Family Lives online-group Bringing up Confident Children for Parents of Children with ADHD


Carers in Hertfordshire - Young Carers Team

As a proactive response  to the COVID19 virus to ensure that young carers who need additional practical or emotional support at this time are informed and receive emotional support for their own health and wellbeing we are offering keeping in touch calls.  We have been targeting also Young Carers that are the primary carer, where there is no other adult in the family home other than the cared for. We have been making Keeping In Touch calls to these families.

Professionals can still make referrals and we are offering virtual carers assessments instead of home visits.  

Activities that we offer can be found on our website www.ycih.org  or   www.carersinherts.org.uk

Young Carers team will continue to work closely with carers and their families who are struggling at this time and need additional support from them and or other agencies.  


Covid-19 Grants Available

We have pulled together some of the specific Covid19 grants available, which may prove of benefit to our work with families:- 

Herts Community Foundation have a Covid-19 grant fund which makes weekly allocations. The maximum grant has been increased from £2000 to £5000. More details can be found at https://www.hertscf.org.uk/coronavirus

A number of Community Foundations and other organisations have launched funding programmes to assist local organisations in responding to the challenges of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Here you can find a list of organisations and the types of funding they have made available.

The CVS Broxbourne and East Herts have produced a list of grants and funding opportunities available to organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The list is updated fortnightly and we will endeavour to provide the latest information but recommend you check the details online before beginning an application.

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation: have adapted their grants programme to help Letchworth based groups and charities provide relief to the community during the COVID-19 emergency.

Welwyn Hatfield Small Community Grant of up to £2000, which funds projects from a range of sectors including music, dance, drama, sport, youth and health, is extending financial support to those organisations that have a positive impact on the local community but have incurred costs or have not been able to operate, due to COVID-19

Family Fund provides grants to low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people, and aims to improve their quality of life by paying for a wide range of items that can ease the daily pressure. Families in England can find out more and apply for grants from Family Fund directly at: https://www.familyfund.org.uk/

Neighbourly have launched micro-grants of up to £400, to support good causes that are helping communities affected by the new Coronavirus outbreak.
Please click here.
John Lewis & Waitrose have launched a £1m Community Support Fund to be distributed by Waitrose shops to local communities and a support fund to aid staff facing additional costs as a result of the pandemic. Please click here.

Sport England: Community Emergency Fund for those who are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. Organisations can apply for grants between £300 and £10,000.To find out more click here.

Barclays Launches £100m COVID-19 Community Aid Package Find out more.

Big Society Capital
Big Society Capital is planning to launch an emergency loan fund for the sector. Around £100m is expected to be available and more details are still to be announced.Find out more here about Big Society Capital Funding.

Standard Life Foundation:
The Standard Life Foundation has launched funding for work directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Grants will be made to organisations which tackle financial problems and improve living standards for those on low-to-middle incomes in the UK. Find out more about Standard Life Foundation.

Tesco Bags of Help have launched a Covid-19 Communities Fund. Organisations that support vulnerable groups will be encouraged to apply for a grant of £500 to support organisational need in this time of crisis rather than fund specific projects. For further information click here.

The Clothworkers’ Emergency Capital Programme will award small capital grants of up to £5,000 for essential capital items to adapt or increase services in response Covid-19 pandemic. Click here for information

The RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore Trusts) programme has been launched to support small charities and social enterprises adversely affected by the crisis with grants up to £5000.Click here for information

The Home Office has announced a further £8 million of funding to help vulnerable EU citizens apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) for the 2020-2021 financial year. 

The new £8 million of funding will ensure that those who are the most vulnerable continue to receive a wide range of support online, over the phone and in person to help them apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.


Also please remember to take a look at our very useful grants page on our Families First Portal

Families First Covid-19 Response Update

Families First covid-19 response update - at 06/06/2020

Here’s an overview of how our Families First services are operating during the current situation. We are still accessible via phone and email so please keep in touch!

Families First Practice Guidance

We have developed a practice standards guidance to support Families First Practitioners whilst working in the current Covid19 circumstances. The content of this booklet will be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect the continuing changing picture and is hosted on our Covid-19 page of the FF Portal.

Our Intensive Family Support Team is….

  • maintaining contact with families via video/telephone
  • undertaking home visits in instances where there are cases with safeguarding concern
  • cancelling any planned group sessions, training or events
  • accepting new referrals appropriate to the service
  • carrying out FFA over the phone/internet where possible
  • supporting families to access food banks and shopping
  • offering activity packs to families
  • contacting schools to offer support
  • updating district service directory and sharing with partners

Our Partnerships, Practice and Development Team is….

  • continuing to offer practice advice and support via video/telephone/email
  • continuing to provide EHM system support by phone and email
  • taking calls from practitioners requiring practice advice, support or guidance for open FFAs and families they are supporting
  • maintaining contact with families via telephone
  • contributing to TAF if required by video/telephone/update case notes
  • not delivering Families First Practice & EHM training and Practice Forums
  • continuing to receive and respond to Personalised Commissioning applications as they come in 

Please note:

  • The Consultation Hub is temporarily closed as of 18th March. Keyworkers of open FFA’s should seek advice from their Local Senior and Families First Coordinator. There will be an expectation that you continue to consult the Continuum of Need - March 2017 and HSCB Child Protection Procedures  and your designated safeguarding lead where you have a child protection concern. Please note – Where you are concerned that a child may be at imminent risk of significant harm, please call 999 for Police or make a Child Protection Contact Referral by either calling the Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 4043 and/or complete and submit a Child Protection Contact Referral online. The form will be located online at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/childprotection
  • Families First Helpdesk support is being provided via email only for the next few weeks and will continually review this.  Please email any registration or requests for support with EHM system to familiesfirstassessment@hertfordshire.gov.uk and copy in your local Senior Families First Coordinator.  Please include your telephone number in your email. Either a Helpdesk staff or your Local Senior and Families First Coordinator will call you back as soon as possible.

 Families First Triage will...

  • Continue to review and progress new contacts
  • Continue to signpost families to relevant services
  • Continue to provide information, advice and guidance to parents/carers and professionals
  • Are currently arranging meetings with all triage panel members to discuss most effective way of moving forward

    Other resources:

    Covid19 – Hertfordshire County Council

    Covid19 – Children’s Services Updates

    Covid 19 – Safeguarding Children

    Covid19 - Families First Response


    Where do I get the latest information?

    New guidance for early years settings on re opening

    The Department for Education (DfE) have published new guidance setting out the overarching aims and principles of this next phase, including information about implementing protective measures and the reopening of childcare provision from 1 June 2020.

    You can read the full guidance here.


    Service updates

    With significant disruption to many of the HCC services please visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates

    New Government guidance for children’s social care services

    The Government have published new guidance for local authorities and their partners to support and protect vulnerable children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read the guidance here.

    Health Advice

    For general guidance and health advice, check Coronavirus – what you need to know.

    For Financial Advice

    Referral links for professionals and volunteers

    A very useful referral document for professionals and volunteers can be downloaded here.


    Safeguarding during COVID-19

    The HSCP website now has a page related Safeguarding during COVID-19.   This includes updates on current services, resources for children and families and a range of links to national guidance and support including a video aimed at volunteers on safeguarding.

    You can also view the HSCP/HSAB spring 2020 newsletter here

    Safeguarding and Child Protection Multi-Agency Course :

    Due to COVID-19, the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership have suspended all face to face training events.

    However, we are now offering this course as a live webinar, held over two 1.5hrs sessions. You can sign up for this event via our website

    New Government guidance for children’s social care services

    The Government have published new guidance for local authorities and their partners to support and protect vulnerable children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You can read the guidance here.



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