Families First News

Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

You may be interested to view our Families First Performance Data report for the period October 2022 - September 2023.

The report looks at Families First Assessments that took place within the period and highlights the presenting needs and outcomes broken down by district along with information about other support for families.


Celebrating Workforce Achievements

We are delighted to celebrate the graduation of 13 Supporting Families staff, having completed their Working With Parents Level 4 qualification. All 13 completed their portfolios and have received amazing feedback from their tutor around their motivation, attitude and pride they showed for their organisation.

Additionally, six of the learners also achieved commendation awards, with the awarding body recognising their portfolio’s as going above and beyond the normal expectations. One of these, belonging to Senior Family Intervention Worker Lisa Lester, was described as exceptional, something the tutor had never seen before.

We are incredibly proud of all our learners and recognise the challenges of working full time, personal pressures and studying.

Money Advice Unit Project ‘highly commended’ in national awards

In April 2023, the Money Advice Unit commenced a pilot project providing benefits advice via the Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Service. It was partly inspired by the survey work done by Healthwatch Hertfordshire on the mental health impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

As a result, Healthwatch submitted the initial results of the project to the National Healthwatch Awards, held in March this year. The Hertfordshire MAU project was a highly-commended runner-up. This is quite an achievement, as this award covered all Healthwatch teams in England for any of their work over the last 10 years.

As well as showing solid and impressive figures of ‘benefits gained’, a video co-produced by Healthwatch, HPFT and the MAU showed ‘Paul’s story’. This was especially well received, with feedback being that it was a powerful example of the impact of good benefits advice on an individual’s life.

Some of the compliments received from Healthwatch England were:

  • Excellent work from Healthwatch Hertfordshire which also provided significant insight for nationally influencing work we have done on cost of living (Louise Ansari, Chief Executive, Healthwatch England)
  • You have powerfully demonstrated the point that once someone such as Paul falls outside the system's comfort zone, it is just impossible for people, without the help of the Money Advice Unit, to stop the spiralling down of their health and wellbeing - such a vivid example! (Professor David Croisdale-Appleby, Chair of Healthwatch England)

Healthwatch Hertfordshire are showcasing the work in their annual report, which will be published at the end of June and it is also featured on Healthwatch England’s Annual Report to Parliament (page 39) which has just been published. 20240314 HWE Annual report & Accounts 2022_23 FINAL_0.pdf (healthwatch.co.uk).

Unfortunately, despite reaching 377 people in its first 11 months, and achieving benefit gains for them (so far – more results are expected) of £725,000, the project has now effectively ended as no further funding is available.

Young Carers Service Celebrates National Award Win

Carers in Herts are delighted that their Young Carers Service has been recognised with a national Children and Young People Now Award.

They were announced as the winners of the Young Carers Award at the awards event on Thursday 23rd November 2023 (Carers Rights Day). They beat four other shortlisted organisations and projects to win.

The awards, in their 18th year, were organised by Children and Young People Now, which provide a website and magazine for professionals that work to improve the life chances of children, young people and families in the UK.

Having caring responsibilities can lead to young carers feeling isolated, missing opportunities and poorer health, but they provide information, guidance, and practical support such as activities, to enable young carers to socialise with each other, have a break from caring, develop their skills or knowledge and enhance their wellbeing. They also listen to their challenges and help them share their views and experiences with health and other services that they, or the people they look after, use.

Carole Whittle, the Health and Wellbeing Manager, said: “We are proud of everyone involved with our Young Carers Service, including the young carers who help us design our activities and services, our fantastic staff team who deliver them and our funders – this is your award. It recognises everyone’s commitment and resilience!”

Currently, more than 2,800 young people aged up to 19 in Hertfordshire who provide unpaid care or help to someone close to them who is ill, elderly, disabled or has an addiction is registered with our charity. If you or someone you know is aged 18 or under and has a caring role, contact Carers in Herts to find out about the support they provide young carers and their families. Send an email to young.carers@carersinherts.org.uk or call 01992 58 69 69.

Families First Case Studies

Following on from a programme of Celebrating Excellence in Early Help sessions run in Children’s Services, which aimed to highlight the Families First approach and also included contributions from some of our partners, we are sharing some of the recent case below:

Case Study 1 - Intensive Family Support / Local Borough Council

Scene Setting

The Intensive Family Support team (IFST) began supporting this family of nine in Spring 2021.

As support got underway the third youngest child Tia* was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and the family are struggling coming to terms with Tia’s diagnosis and her life expectancy of one year. Tia is 11 years old.

On learning of Tia’s prognosis and following discussion with Keech Hospice an Occupational Therapist (OT) appointment was arranged for the family’s home. This assessment identified that the three-bedroom home was not suitable for end-of-life care and was not suitable for adaptation as the access was too narrow and steep for a ramp.

The Family Intervention Worker (FIW) made contact with the local Borough Council’s Aids and Adaptions Team for support.


Case Study 2 - Families First Assessment

Scene Setting

This case study provides some insight into the journey of Fran* and her family. Fran is an eight year old girl who worries about her mum, she knows mum is different when she is with her drinking friends. Fran’s Mum has a diagnosis of unstable personality disorder and has previously used drugs and alcohol as coping strategies, she has been in a cycle of poor mental health and whilst their wider family network have been supporting Fran and her mother they sought out some external support via a Families First Assessment.


Case Study 3 - Employment Adviser/IFST

Scene Setting:

This case study provides some insight into the support provided to Sanz* from one of our Employment Advisers. Our Intensive Family Support Teams include Employment Advisers who provide tailored support in areas such as employability; taking time to understand skills and experiences, any barriers or challenges preventing employment, identification of any training to support employability, preparation of supporting statements and CVs and job search support, including mock interviews.

Our Advisers can also provide guidance on how to navigate the benefits system, including benefit entitlements and claims, as well as how changes in circumstances impact benefits.

They work in parallel with Family Intervention Workers. This case study summarises support given to Sanz, the mother, to support with employability and benefits.


Case Study 4 - Local Schools Partnership

Please share anonymised case studies highlighting how early help and partnership working has provided support to local families with us at familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk. Please ensure you have consent from the family.

Help us promote the Families First Website

Our Families First Website is a great central resource for early help support for families and young people, with links to many services such as mental health support, Services for Young People, SEND Local Offer, parenting courses etc along with a link to the Herts Directory and the Families First professionals area.

We would like to encourage all partner agencies to help us promote the Families First website to parents and carers in Hertfordshire.

Campaign Tools:

Please add the web address to your own website:- https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/microsites/families-first/families-first.aspx

Or use the QR Code for direct link to the Families First homepage:

Download a QR code 

Download a Families First Logo

Social media

Please follow Families First on Facebook and X (Twitter)

Suggested post

Image to post on your own social media channels, with the suggested text:-

"All families need help and support at some point, please visit the Families First Website to find out about support available in your area". https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/.../families-first.aspx


Please download our poster and display in your public facing space.

Thank you in advance for your support with this campaign.

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