Families First News

Front page - Welcome


Welcome to the May edition of Families First News - we really do have a busy newsletter with lots to update you on!

Firstly, it was great to be able to celebrate the good work taking place across the partnerships with our Families First Awards. We held a very successful afternoon tea for over 120 guests and with the help of Three Rivers District Council we were able deliver this event on a low budget!

We also have updates in the change to the Young Carers support which came into effect in April, we have a reminder about the Personalised Commissioning Fund available for families where there is need identified in the FFA, along with a link to the new Voice of the Child and Young Person toolkit for practitioners and much more.

Our Learning and Development pages have a link to the How to Guides for EHM users, along with the Practice Forums and Bespoke Training available for EHM users and Families First Assessment key workers and some other informative training opportunities.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and find it helpful. Please also encourage your teams to sign up to receive their own copy!

As always please do let us have your comments and suggestions for what you would like us to include in future editions.

The latest news

Support to Young Carers - Change

Stakeholder Briefing – A new Integrated Young Carers Support Service from 01 April 2019  


The current service model for supporting young carers under 18 in Hertfordshire involves a split in the delivery of support to this group, based on levels of need:

  •  An externally commissioned service (Carers in Hertfordshire) registers, assesses and supports young carers and their families requiring universal support or with emerging needs (lower level of need).
  • An internal team within Hertfordshire County Council Children’s Services (Young Carers Team) registers, assesses and supports young carers and their families with a higher or complex level of need.

To ensure the Council is able to continue to meet its statutory duty and improve outcomes for young carers under 18, the current young carers service delivery model was reviewed, in consultation with young carers and wider stakeholders to assess its effectiveness in meeting needs and ensuring the Council is able to meet its statutory duty to young carers in a sustainable way, value for money and integrates Children’s Services Outcomes Framework. 

The outcome of this review, which was agreed with young carers, stakeholders and CS Core Board, was to commission an integrated service delivery model for young carers under 18 in the county, enabling the Council to meet all its statutory duty to young carers, by increasing identification of young carers and providing age appropriate support to reduce the negative impact of caring on young carers’ education, wellbeing and life outcomes.

Following a public procurement exercise and Tendering process, Carers in Hertfordshire have been awarded the contract to deliver an integrated support service for young carers under 18 in the county, for a period of three years commencing from 01 April 2019.

The commissioning of an integrated support service for young carers under 18 in the county will ensure the Council continues to meet its statutory duty to young carers and improves outcomes for a vulnerable group of young people. The new model outlined below, is for one integrated service to provide support for young carers across all levels of need.

New Integrated Support Service for Young Carers

This contract now encompasses both Carers in Hertfordshire existing contract as well the Hertfordshire County Council led Families First Young Carers Team and from April 2019 the whole service will be amalgamated into one holistic and user focused service and delivered by Carers in Hertfordshire.

The service will ensure young carers are identified, registered and receive a whole family assessment under the statutory duty of the Council. In doing so, the service will contribute to improving health, education and social outcomes for children and young people who are identified as being a young carer, and reduce inappropriate caring roles undertaken by young carers.

The service will comprise four components: 

  • Identification of young carers – increasing identification and registration of young carers using a range of approaches to maximise coverage across the county; and increase awareness of young carers needs and issues across the statutory, public and voluntary/community sector in order to improve early identification of young carers (make supporting young carers ‘everyone’s business’).
  • Voice of young carers – giving young carers a voice that is recognised and valued by all services providing support to young carers, and helps to shape and design local provisions.
  • Whole family assessment and support for young carers – providing identified young carers with personalised support sustainable change through a whole family coordinated assessment to prevent inappropriate caring and the negative impact of providing care so they can achieve outcomes which support them to learn, develop, enjoy their childhood and achieve their full potential,
  • Preparation for adulthood and transition – delivering seamless support for young carers through key transition points between services including from primary to secondary, secondary to college or university, and into adult services.This service aims to achieve the overall outcome that young carers are healthy, safe, ambitious, resilient, independent and happy; and that their caring roles do not prevent this, in line with the Hertfordshire Outcome Bee’s Framework which is the foundation of all outcomes we want to achieve for young carers, set out in more detail in the Young Carers Outcomes Framework below: 

Download a printable copy of this article


Personalised Commissioning

Personalised Commissioning Fund

FOR DOWNLOAD: FF bullet point colour

As we approach May half-term and upcoming summer holidays, we would like to encourage Keyworkers supporting a family through an FFA, to consider submitting applications where there is need identified in the FFA that can be met through personalised commissioning (PC) in line with set criteria for this funding.

Personalised Commissioning can be applied for by the keyworker of an open Families First Episode using the simple application form, which is accessed through the EHM system. Click here to access a fact sheet outlining the criteria including dates for decisions. Keyworkers – please contact your  Your Local senior or Families First Coordinator should you require support with PC application or to discuss this further.

You can apply for funding if a need is identified during an assessment and if this is clearly shown within the family plan within the finalised Families First Assessment, or after any subsequent Team Around the Family meeting (please note that the episode will need to be up to date on the EHM system and any needs or agreed actions must be updated within the timescales according to the - Families First Practice Guidance )

The funding can be applied for activities or items, so it is a good time to be considering any family or individual activities for the pending school holidays. Please consider positive activities for children and young people such as sports camps, sports classes, art or drama clubs, dance clubs, music activities etc. that will promote the safety and social wellbeing of the children and young people and is clearly linked to an identified need in the FFA or Family Plan.

Spectrum Families and Young People’s Service

From April 1st 2019, Spectrum CGL have been providing drug and alcohol support for Under-25s as part of our new Families and Young People’s team (Spectrum FYP).

Our workers provide confidential advice, treatment and support to young people across Hertfordshire on an outreach basis, seeing them in schools, YC Hertfordshire offices, at home or anywhere that is most convenient for our services users.

Our Hidden Harm workers will also provide interventions and education to anyone (child or adult) that is affected by someone else’s substance misuse and we can run drug awareness workshops in schools and colleges.

Our treatment offer includes:

  • One-to-one support from a recovery worker
  • Group work options for young people in similar situations
  • Access to counselling
  • Sexual health and stop smoking support
  • Advice on cannabis, alcohol, steroids and new psychoactive substances
  • Signposting to other organisations for related support such as housing

Young People can self-refer for support via:

Professionals, parents and carers can also refer a young person to us with their consent.

To see young people under the age of 13 we are required by law to seek the consent of their parents or responsible adult.

You can speak to our duty team from 9am-7pm Tuesdays to Fridays and from 9am – 5pm on Mondays and Saturdays. Call us on 0800 652 3169 or email us via Herts@cgl.org.uk

Visit changegrowlive.org/young-people to find out more and to self-refer online.

Follow our Young People’s Team on Instagram @spectrumfyp

They will also be delivering targeted workshops on a range of drug and alcohol-related topics to young people in schools and colleges countywide.

If you recognise a young person who might need support with substance misuse, we would encourage you to use the screening tool. It’s a simple set of questions that can help to identify what level of support they may require and help to highlight any other risks or other support needs they may have.

Young person's screen tool for drug and alcohol use - a guidance document for professionals


Could you spot the signs of slavery?

HMSP Publicity Materials Survey (Set 2)

The Partnership is in the final stages of developing new publicity materials and they would LOVE your feedback

Window Stickers (Draft Design)
Air Fresheners (Draft Designs) - 1 English side & 1 Translated side (Draft Design)
Matching Post-it Notes to Air Fresheners (Draft Design)

Please complete the 5 minute survey by Friday 24th May COP. Please also share with colleagues and forward to your networks.


  • Raise awareness of modern slavery/exploitation.
  • Provide safe reporting mechanisms for potential victims in different environments, signposting to the modern slavery helpline.
  • Signpost the public to report suspicions to the modern slavery helpline


  • Public premises and vehicles
  • Private premises and vehicles
  • Handed out at operations
  • Handed out at inspections
  • Handed out during awareness campaigns 


  • 1) Member of the public or taxi driver drives into a car wash.
  • 2) Car washers clean the vehicle and notice the air freshener.
  • 3) The sticky notes are left on the vehicle dashboard under the air freshener.
  • 4) Cleaning inside the vehicle, a post-it note sheet can be discreetly removed.
  • 5) The car washer calls the modern slavery helpline at a safe time later

Voice of the Child and Young Person

Listening to young children is an integral part of understanding what they are feeling and what they need. It is key to providing environments in which all young children feel confident, safe and empowered to ensure they have the time and space to express themselves in whatever form suits them.

This toolkit has been produced to provide guidance and support to practitioners working directly within early years settings.

Hope House Hertfordshire

It is with great pleasure that Safer Places can announce the opening, Tuesday 7th May of Hertfordshire’s first specialist complex needs refuge, Hope House Hertfordshire. Safer Places in partnership with Hertfordshire county council were successful in obtaining funding for this innovative service through the MHCLG for 18 months.

Hertfordshire Hope House is a complex needs refuge of 4 units exclusively for Hertfordshire  female victims of Domestic Abuse who, owing to additional support needs, may typically find it difficult to access refuge. This  refuge will:

  • Be staffed by a multi-agency team on 24/7 basis
  • Accept referrals from all areas of the county
  • Work with the service user, and any agency with which she is already involved, to arrange safe travel to the service following referral.

Every client will have an individualised programme with personal goals. Service users will benefit from a routine with set activities, daily house meetings, one to one support sessions, group programmes (including the Safer Places accredited CBT based Triple R programme) and other therapeutic activities which focus on recovery and resilience building. Part of the Hope house model involves enabling clients to make their voices heard and to help shape services for future service users – this is something that proved particularly successful in Safer Places’ Essex pilot of the Hope House model.

The service aims to

  • Reach and respond effectively to women who are victims of domestic abuse who also have additional needs, which may typically prevent them from accessing refuge
  • Provide a place of safety for a group of high risk/high need service users
  • Ensure that service users receive well-coordinated packages of support, designed to respond to their individual needs
  • Ensure that on leaving the refuge, clients are already linked with organisations which will be part of their continuing support journey
  • Develop an evidence base of the needs of domestic abuse victims with additional needs to inform future commissioning
  • Improve multi-agency working for victims with additional support needs
  • Save and transform lives in the short and longer term

Within the Hope house model we need to achieve buy – in from clients to take part in a weekday programme with weekends free to do what they would like. All potential clients will need to have in addition to our normal referral pathway a secondary assessment to ensure we have all the information  to support safely and risk assess appropriately, we hope to do this in person but where we cannot we will arrange for a one night’s stay in our interim accommodation to ensure that we can assess the suitability of the project and programme with the client. If the client is deemed suitable they will be admitted to Hope house to begin the programme. If the client is not suitable as this may be due to case mix at time of referral Hope house staff will support the client on their onward journey and will allow up to a 7 night stay if risk assessment allows.

To refer into the new service please contact our Gateway on 03301 025811, staff will then be able to start the assessment process with your potential referral. 



Wellbeing Inclusion

Supporting You!

Supporting You Groups provide 2 hour sessions in a friendly atmosphere, once a week for seven weeks to help develop coping / resilience strategies for young people who may be displaying low mood / anxiety and are not being supported by other services i.e. CAMHS.

Up to 12 attendees per group will learn 12 CBT skills plus a method for planning how to achieve goals. Sessions are run by Youth Workers trained to deliver CBT and are supported by young volunteers. Supporting You is based on the Decider

For more information please download the Professionals Leaflet and the Young Persons Leaflet

Transitions UK Approach and The Aspire Project

Transitions UK is a charity that provides vital support for disadvantaged young people aged 14-25, to ensure they transition onto healthy, happy and fulfilled futures. We run various projects that aim to support young people by instilling hope and self-belief, enabling them to change their lives:

  • Achieve – Supports young people with learning difficulties and special educational needs. Based in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire
  • Aspire – Supports young people at risk of criminal exploitation and offending. Based in Hertfordshire and Enfield
  • Attain –Supports young care leavers. Based in Milton Keynes
  • Affirm – Support young people with emotional and mental health needs. (Opening Late 2019)

The ASPIRE project based in Watford and Stevenage, works with vulnerable young people aged 14-16, who have been highlighted of being at risk of (re)offending and criminal exploitation. We aim to support young people by supporting them through this complex part of their journey, by using a person-centred mentoring approaches and relational models tailored to individual needs.

We work with those who have been identified as such by Hertfordshire Police, by initial referral from schools and through other relevant agencies. Currently, there are limited spaces available on the project within Watford. Do you know a young person who may benefit from additional support?

Additionally, if you would like to support a young person in your community and can offer an hour or two of your time per week, we would love to hear from you.

Contact:               Radhika Dattani                Radhika.dattani@transitionsuk.org             07841 470 382              

Charity Registration No 1160105                                  www.transitionsuk.org


Download the Referrers Pack here

New: Parenting Together Programme

New services for parents in conflict are launching in Hertfordshire soon.  Subscribe to this newsletter to ensure you receive updates when the services go live, as well as information on the interventions, how to refer, and free training. In addition please see below information to book a place at a Lite Bite briefing session for professionals near you to find out more about the new services.

Come to the Enrich Festival on 7-9 June

Help celebrate performance art with no barriers at the Enrich Festival, a free three-day event taking place in Watford on 7-9 June.

The festival aims to showcase amateur and professional artists and performers with additional needs, break down social barriers and challenge misconceptions.

It is jointly funded by Hertfordshire County Council and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Everyone is welcome to come along to the free events being held at the wheelchair accessible Watford Palace Theatre and other venues. Full details and booking information are available at: www.enrichfestival.com

There will be a variety of inclusive performances, workshops and concerts allowing the artists and the audience the chance to spend quality time together in a friendly and prejudice free environment.

Mind the Gap Theatre, Anjali Dance Company, Herts Inclusive Theatre and Access All Areas are just some of the amazing artists that are performing.

The Enrich Festival is part of the Relaxed Performance Theatre4All campaign, ensuring that all shows are more accessible to those with autism and their families.

Iain MacBeath, Director of Adult Care Services at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “Enrich Festival is a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy performing arts in an accessible and supportive environment.

 “Everybody is welcome, and we especially want to see lots of people with additional needs and their families and carers attending and getting involved in the events and workshops on offer.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “Everybody deserves the opportunity to enjoy and participate in arts and culture, irrespective of their circumstance or background. This project will provide performing artists with additional needs with an important platform to showcase their work, whilst also celebrating the vital importance that diversity offers. Arts, culture and creativity can have a powerful role in breaking down barriers, particularly festivals, which offer such an inclusive experience.”

To pre-book free tickets for performances and workshops, visit www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk or call 01923 225 671. You can also join in the conversation and get regular updates on the Enrich Festival Facebook page www.facebook.com/enrichfestival

More information is available on the Council’s website.


Learning & development

EHM How to Guides

Shortened FF logoDid you know that you can access How to Guides to help you navigate the Early Help Module (EHM) system. These are regularly updated. Please click on EHM How to Guides you will need a password to access these  - Hertfordshire


Local Families First Practice Forums

Provide an opportunity for Practitioners to:

  • Share learning and practice to increase their confidence and ability in using Families First Pathways and Tools. 
  • Extend Practitioners learning and development on the specifics of the Families First Assessment (FFA), Short-term work and the Early Help Module (EHM).
  • Improve the quality of recording and better evidencing of the FF Outcomes through our case work.
  • Opportunity to have face to face 1:1 support on individual cases identified by the keyworker that they are struggling to progress and require support.
  • Increase confidence in Practitioners’ ability to evidence their work with families and improved outcomes for families.

Target Audience – All Keyworkers, TAF Members and Local Practitioners who support or contribute a TAF through Families First Assessments, Graded Care Profile or Short-term work. 

The Practice Forums are held half-termly in local double districts and are facilitated by local Senior and Families First Coordinators. Please book a place at one of the Practice Forums here Families First Practice Forums


Bespoke Training

The Families First Partnership Practice and Development Team are happy to be able to offer Bespoke Training to all Practitioners supporting Families through a Families First Assessment, be it as a Key Worker or TAF Member, in your own setting. They are able to offer Key Worker Lite Bites for those leading on FFA’s that would like a refresher on the process or support with EHM System, including managing Notifications, writing the Assessment, going through the TAF Review process, adding Case Notes and TAF Members and Closures. Everything a Key Worker needs to know. They also offer TAF Member Training for those that are not Key Workers but will benefit from knowing how to use the EHM System to evidence the support that they are offering the family including adding Case Notes and Documents, knowing how to access and send alerts and how to be a productive and active member of the Team around the Family and the Families First process. Additionally the team are here to support you with all of your FFA and EHM needs and we are happy to discuss the needs of your service and adapt any bespoke session to meet your needs, so please do contact your Your Local senior or Families First Coordinator to discuss how they can support you in your own setting at a date and time convenient to you. Please click her to request a bespoke training session Keyworker Litebite Training or TAF Member Training.


Caring Dads Courses

Caring Dads is a 17 week parenting course specifically for men where there have been allegations that they have been abusive in their families.

The programme was originally developed in Canada, in recognition that frequently fathers are not held accountable for their abusive behaviour and its impact on their children. It is now being used in a number of countries including the UK where it was first introduced by the London Probation Area. International research has confirmed it has a positive impact on those that complete the course.

This programme is designed to enable men to improve their fathering skills and take responsibility for their children’s welfare and safety. In our experience, following domestic abuse and family breakdown, fathers are often angry, feel victimised and deny, minimise or blame others for their situation. They are often controlling in their parenting. As a result they continue to cause difficulties for their children and their children’s mothers.

More information and a referral form can be found here and the upcoming Caring Dads courses are as follows:

Watford 2019

Will start in the Summer 2019 term

Stevenage 2019

Will start in the Autumn / Winter 2019 term

Hatfield 2019

Possible start late 2019 / early 2020 - depending on funding

Broxbourne will now be in early 2020

Please call 01727 854727 if you wish to discuss the Caring Dads programme and suitability of possible referrals.  Please note: HACRO runs a p/t office open 2 days / week, usually Monday and Thursday. There is no ‘out of office’ email message facility. The office answerphone will announce when the office will next be open.


Domestic Abuse Lite-Bite sessions


Money Advice Unit Spring Summer Training

The Money Advice Unit’s Spring & Summer 2019 training programme is now available to view.

To book, please complete and return the booking form on page 9.

The courses are popular and operate on a first come first served basis. Please note the MAU limit places on any one course to a maximum of 2 people per organisation.

Shadowing made simple!

Workforce Shadowing is an exciting opportunity to "spend a day in someone else’s shoes" and is open to the entire Families First partnership. 

Accessing the Workforce Shadowing scheme has been simplified into 3 easy steps:

  1. Choose your shadowing opportunity from this list (on the Families First Portal)
  2. Simply send an email to FamiliesFirst.Shadowing@hertfordshire.gov.uk  copying in your manager to indicate their support of your application
  1. Get shadowing!

Could your service host shadowing?
If you would like to offer a shadowing opportunity within your organisation:

  1. Nominate a contact in your team
  2. Email Shadowing@hertfordshire.gov.uk and we will be in touch.

WFD logo USE

My Teen Brain

Training dates available for My Teen Brain

My Teen Brain focuses on a key stage of brain development and shows how changes in the adolescent brain, in conjunction with experience and environment, can affect emotions, relationships, behaviours, sleep and attitudes to risk.  

The initiative aims to raise awareness and provide practical information and strategies to both parents/carers and professionals. Through training and a range of resources, the initiative will enable them to support young people through this time of change.

Professionals working with either young adolescents (10-14) or their parents are invited to attend a free one-day multi-agency training which will look at changes to the adolescent brain, risks and behaviours and how the learning can help a strength based approach to practice.

Dates available are:

You can book onto the free one-day training here.

More Information on the changes that take place in the teen brain is available on our dedicated website www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/myteenbrain.


Difference we're making

Families First Awards

On 25 April we held our first Families First Awards to celebrate and recognise all of the excellent early help work that has taken place across the partnerships.

The awards also corresponded with the two-year anniversary since the launch of the local multi-agency Families First Triage Panels.

Over 120 partners attended, including schools, voluntary and community services, district councils, family centre services,  police, local school partnerships and many others who enjoyed an afternoon tea and celebration at the Watersmeet Theatre in the Three Rivers District.

There were nominations made from across the partnerships and with so many great nominations, it proved a very difficult process to choose the winners. So those that were chosen as winners of the awards should all be feeling very proud and we would like to say a special congratulations to:-

Individual Awards:-

Jon Nelson – Herts Mind Network – Community Engagement Award

Jenny Morley – Warren Dell School – Partnership School of the Year

Nicki McGrinder – Baldock Schools Partnerships – Key Worker of the Year

Sam Lemay – One YMCA – Support Worker of the Year

Debbie Stone – IFS W&TR – Manager/Team Leader of the Year

Maxine Bromyard – Citizens Advice – Unsung Hero Award


Team Awards:-

WGC & Hatfield Schools Partnership + Stanborough School – Innovative Early Intervention Award

YC Hertfordshire, Broxbourne and East Herts – Services to Young People Team of the Year

South West Herts Partnership – Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences Through Practice

Martins Wood School – Services to Families Team of the Year

Harpenden Plus Schools Partnership – Collaborative Team of the Year

Families First Triage Team – Team of the Year

Take a look at our screen show which celebrates all the good work taking place...

Some of the positive comments received from our partners:-

"The venue had everything we needed and the afternoon tea was lovely"

A lot of thought and preparation must have gone into the organisation and it was very much appreciated.

"Great to have time to catch up and network"

"It is special to be recognised for what is sometimes a difficult job"

"I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, a very good morale boost"

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