Families First News

The latest news

Congratulations to all our Winners!!

Our Families First Awards took place virtually on Friday 23rd April and after a few “audio glitches”, we managed to have a great afternoon of celebrations. Over 170 partners tuned in and everyone engaged with lots of clapping, cheering, whoop whooping, and even a mouth organ was played to add to the celebrations!

We had an amazing and worthy set of nominations and it was a tough process choosing the winners, but these winners truly have provided a great service in the last year in supporting young people and families and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them once again on their work. A special thanks also goes to our hosts of the event Jackie Clementson and Gary Mallett.

The winners are:-

Individual Awards:-

  1. Community Engagement Award : Amanda Moss, The Food Pantry, Herts Helping Herts
  2. Partnership School of the Year : Mary Exton Primary School 
  3. Key Worker of the Year : Emma Bumpus, YCH Services for Young People 
  4. Early Years Worker of the Year : Viv Wade, Emerging Needs Team, Family Centre Service, East Hertfordshire Quadrant
  5. Admin Support Worker of the Year : Sarah Whitehair, Emerging Needs, Broxbourne Family Centre
  6. Manager/Team Leader of the Year : Lauren Penrose, Intensive Family Support Team, Stevenage and North Herts
  7. Unsung Hero Award : Barry Wheeler, A Man and Van limited

Team Awards :-         

  1. Innovative Early Intervention : Intensive Family Support Team, East Herts & Broxbourne
  2. Services to young people team of the year : HABS Family Support    
  3. Services to Families team of the year : Family Support Team, Family Centre Service – EH Quadrant
  4. Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) : Micklem Primary School       
  5. Collaborative Team of the Year : Stevenage Vineyard Foodshed         
  6. Team of the year : Three Rivers District Council Housing Department  

We were entertained by the amazing Electric Umbrella with some special video tracks from their latest album Sun Flower Avenue. Electric Umbrella is a registered charity challenging the perception about people with learning disabilities and enriching and empowering lives through music and you can enjoy the Sun Flower Avenue track below and head over to their website if you wish to find out how to hear more.

You can also take a look at the presentation slides showing the names of all the nominees and view the celebration slideshow.

Toolkit to identify vulnerable children and young people

A Practitioners toolkit is now available to download from Quick Links section on the practitioners area of the Families First Portal. This toolkit should be used to identify children/young people who may be vulnerable to exploitation; criminal, sexual, gang and youth violence.

What is child exploitation?

Child exploitation is the act of using a minor child for profit, labour, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage.

The purpose of this screening toolkit is to assist designated safeguarding practitioners/leads to consider the health, welfare and safety of a child/young person for whom there are concerns that they may be vulnerable to exploitation, including Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE); Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE); and/or association with gangs, youth violence.

Whilst elements of this toolkit relate more to use within educational settings, the toolkit can be utilised by all partners in a way that suits individual agency needs.

The toolkit should:

  • support professional decision making about the level of risk
  • help identify an appropriate response
  • provide a framework and suggestions for educational settings, to assist in developing a whole school approach to embedding preventative education and learning into the curriculum.

The indicators and resources referred to within this toolkit cover many safeguarding issues, due to their interconnectivity.

The Document is divided in to two parts:

  • Part One - Indicators checklist – support screening, analysis and pathway guidance to address children/young people’s immediate unmet needs. The indicators checklist can be applied to all children (male and female) under the age of 18 years (children with additional needs /LDD require special consideration up to the age of 25 years).
  • Part Two - Resources hub - for use within the curriculum, 1:1 work with children and young people, information for parents and carers and to develop staff training and knowledge of these areas.

HAPpy Programme - Summer delivery grants now open

The summer holidays are looking brighter for disadvantaged children and young people in Hertfordshire thanks to an exciting partnership which delivered at Easter.

From July, Hertfordshire County Council, the Herts Sports Partnership and Hertfordshire Community Foundation will once again join forces to deliver healthy food alongside sport and physical activity, under the name ‘HAPpy: Hertfordshire’s Holiday Activity Programme. The programme is open to children and young people aged 5 to 16 who are in receipt of benefits-related free school meals and aims to tackle the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation.

Thanks to funding by the Department for Education, which continues this initiative across England in 2021, existing or prospective organisers of holiday activity programmes can now access this funding to deliver daily programmes for young people. In Hertfordshire, the HAPpy project will look to offer 5000 free activity places each day, for a four-week period.

Grant applications for summer delivery are open now, and close on Friday 14 May. We look forward to receiving some exciting and innovative proposals for the expanded delivery of this much needed scheme.

We would be delighted to welcome prospective delivery organisations to attend information webinars to find out more about the criteria of the programme. For anyone unable to attend the live webinars a recording will be available along with an FAQ list.

PLEASE NOTE the final webinar session and grant Q&A is on 11th May 10-11am Book here

If you missed the webinars, you can watch a recording back here

Graded Care Profile tool - your feedback is needed

As part of the joint HSCP/NSPCC Neglect Campaign, it has been agreed that we will carry out a survey with all partner agencies on the use of the Graded Care Profile tool.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and pass on the link to your colleagues and teams. The survey takes about 5 minutes to complete and the closing date is 4 June 2021.

Survey link: https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/GCPTool/

Thank you


YCH Services Access Points

Services for Young People Access Points are set to fully reopen on the 12 April, offering a wide range of services, including information, advice, guidance and support on education, work, training and volunteering, youth work projects and programmes, advice on drugs, finance, relationships, health, including sexual health, housing and much more.

There are ten Access Points across Hertfordshire and young people can find out more about their nearest one and how to make an appointment at Services for Young People


New Mum & Baby App

As you may be aware, in November 2020, the Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) launched the Mum & Baby App which is free for mums-to-be in Hertfordshire and West Essex. The app provides all the information they need for their pregnancy, birth and beyond in a single source.

The aim of the app is to improve women’s experiences of maternity care and ensure this is consistent no matter where they choose to give birth in the local area. The app also supports women and their families with:

  • choice on where you want to receive your maternity care; The Lister Hospital, Watford General Hospital or The Princess Alexandra Hospital and home births
  • access to essential information for all stages of the maternity journey
  • personalised plans for their care during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

A range of new resources will continue to be developed and will be shared on the Hertfordshire and West Essex LMNS Facebook page to promote the apps use.

Below are some links to videos to help with the promotion/use of the Apps:

Mum & Baby App promotion: The Mum & Baby App - YouTube

How to search for information in the Mum & Baby App: https://youtu.be/X8W2zsjilGI

Mum & Baby App: https://youtu.be/Pg8iiQCR-To 

Parent ChatHealth 0-5 years

Get advice from our Health Visiting Team via our text messaging service for parents and carers of babies and children aged 0-5 yrs.

This new service will support parents and carers of babies and children aged 0-5 years in Hertfordshire, get advice with health related issues and improve their access to health care.

Messages sent to the dedicated number 07480 635164 are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by a member of the Health visiting team. The service is available Mon- Fri 9-5pm with automatic replies sent to messages received out of hours.

Watch this informative video that explains our ChatHealth 0-5 texting service in more detail, including a young Dad who sought our help and advice with his baby’s sleeplessness and download the poster here.


Pyjamarama is back for 2021 - from May 10

Pyjamarama is an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy reading stories - in their pyjamas!  Hertfordshire Libraries will be joining in with the online events hosted on Friday 14 May by BookTrust. Get ready for Pyjamarama 2021 | BookTrust There will be lots of author talks, story readings and illustrator draw-a-longs to excite children of all ages. Follow BookTrust on Facebook for the latest updates at  (20+) BookTrust | Facebook. BookTrust will be using Friday 14 May as a fund-raising day, with some schools and early years settings asking children to pay £1 to wear their pyjamas for the day. 

Diana Gerald, Chief Executive, says: “Sharing stories both at school and at home is a fantastic way to help children build social skills and resilience and supports communication skills, language development, confidence and mental health, which is even more important given the difficulties of the last year”.

BookTrust is a charity that provides 45,000 BookStart packs to Hertfordshire families every year: Baby Bags distributed by Health Visitors at birth, Treasure Packs delivered through Early Years settings and Time to Read packs gifted in Reception classes. Pyjamarama is an opportunity for BookTrust and libraries to showcase all this amazing work in encouraging children of all ages to enjoy reading, because we know that children who read are happier, healthier, more empathetic and more creative.

The BookTrust website showcases the latest children’s books to be published and suggests great ideas of other books to try. Don’t wait until Pyjamarama Day - check out their HomeTime offer at www.booktrust.org.uk/hometime with its wealth of stories and activities to keep the family busy.

Hertfordshire Libraries will be making the whole of Pyjamarama week a FUN-raising time – look out for online story sessions and events, Bookface Bears and more fun! In the past, libraries have highlighted our favourite classic bedtime stories. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiger who Came to Tea and the wonderful Gruffalo featured heavily.  This year, we will be highlighting our favourite NEW bedtime stories.  We want to get children excited about books, rhymes and stories, because if reading is fun, children will want to do it.


Please share this article with the families you work with.



Online safety for all age groups

Produced by the Herts for Learning Wellbeing team, both the online safety newsletters for School Staff and the Parents and Carers editions feature a range of guidance, news, links and updates about online safety for all age groups, with particular reference to the current situation, recent developments and concerns. Please share them with your personal and professional networks as well as your school’s or setting’s parent body and staff where relevant.

Please click here to review our newsletter for staff which includes reviews and details about:

  • Dates for your diary and forthcoming events
  • Harmful online challenges and online hoaxes - Department for Education
  • Refuge and Risk: Life Online for Vulnerable Young People - Internet Matters |
  • Be Internet Legends, RSE pack – Google and Parent Zone
  • The Legendary SEND pack - Parent Zone
  • Thinkuknow – updated and retired resources
  • Boost self -confidence with the Dove Self-Esteem Project – Parent Zone
  • Professionals Online Safety helpline – UK Safer Internet Centre

Please click here to review our newsletter for parents and carers which includes reviews and details about:

  • Digital 5 a day - Digital safety wellbeing kit - Children’s Commissioner for England
  • Ollee – ‘Your helpful digital friend’ - Parent Zone and Children in Need
  • What parents and carers need to know about WhatsApp (16+ age rating) – National Online Safety
  • Tips to keep children safe on Netflix - O2 and the NSPCC
  • Net Aware – helping to keep children safe online - O2 and the NSPCC
  • Online safety activities you can do from home - Childnet

For more information, advice and training about online safety across the curriculum and embedding this within a wider whole school approach to include mental health, positive relationships and safeguarding, please contact the Herts for Learning Wellbeing team at wellbeing@hertsforlearning.co.uk or visit Herts for Learning | Online Safety

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