Covid19 Special Edition

Families First News

The latest news

Partner Service Updates

Please see service updates from HCC teams and Partners, please email if you would like to include your service on this page.

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:

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

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.

We are also looking to increase our capacity of our Supporting You programme, which we feel will benefit many young people at this time: 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.

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

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

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.

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. 

Janet Dalrymple, CEO of Safer Places said:

"Safer Places provide life changing and life saving support services across Essex and Hertfordshire. Our new Live Chat service will allow us to reach more people affected by abuse and give survivors the opportunity to safely access non-judgemental support and advice. Coronavirus (COVID 19) is impacting upon us all and we are seeing a dramatic rise in the numbers of those wanting to access our services and how they wish to do so. It can be incredibly difficult to talk about abuse - and making a call can be difficult, now more than ever with abusers in the home. That's why we have worked around the clock to create our Live Chat service. Our qualified expert staff are now available by phone and live-chat every day, day and night. We want to reassure everyone in the communities that we serve that we are here for you, when you need us and how you need us, our support is led by you".

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.

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service - CGL Spectrum update

Change Grow Live are working very hard to protect our clients, particularly those who are high risk and isolating, and we’re taking steps now to minimise face-to-face contacts, provide medication and deliver harm reduction resources – this is why we did not send this email last night, as planned. Going forward, we will continue sending updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I hope this is still the best way to update you all with our activities, and please do continue to send your own updates to

Please continue to forward this on to any colleagues or other services/ teams who would benefit from this information.

We also have multiple resources on our website, we hope you can make use of:

Please download and  forward this on to any colleagues or other services/ teams who would benefit from this information.

Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS update)

Sadly, we have reached the situation which we desperately wanted to avoid, and until further notice we are no longer able to offer face to face tuition to our learners.

However, HAFLS are still here for you and our team are currently working on ways to deliver virtual learning to support during this period. We will be in touch with all our learners to discuss this.

Unfortunately, we, like everyone else, have no idea how long this pandemic may go on for, which makes it difficult to predict when the face to face courses are likely to resume.

Our community venues are closing but the team are still working and are on hand to offer information and support.

We are very aware that for many, our courses are a great opportunity to connect with others. If, for any reason, you find yourself struggling with your mental health, please find contact details below for some useful organisations.

Please phone us on 01992 556194 if you wish to talk to us.

Also, please visit our website to see the range of courses we are planning in the near future.

We will be waiving the registration fee for our courses that are going to run between April and July 2020.

Wishing you all good health - and we look forward to welcoming you back to our courses as soon as we can.

The entire team at HAFLS



No comments have been left for this article

Have your say...

Your name will be published alongside your comment but we will not publish your email address.

All comments will be reviewed by a moderator before being published.

Please ensure you complete all fields marked as mandatory.