Families First News

The latest news

Workforce Development Update

Learning and Development Plan

The workforce development workstreams have been working in partnership to continue to develop the Families First workforce development offer. As part of this work we have developed a best practice example of a Learning and Development Plan for staff who are new to Families First, outlining the key things that staff need to know and what tools are available to support with that learning.

Welcome Pack

In addition, our new Welcome Pack is already proving very popular with services wishing to get a better understanding of how to access early help within Hertfordshire, understand the Families First way of working and access the training available. In particular this diagram sets out how we all work together in partnership to achieve better outcomes for families.

Please download the full pack here and promote at your team meetings and include in any new starter induction packs.

Families First workforce development offer

Families First welcome pack

Events and Conferences

We have started planning ahead to 2020 with discussions already taking place around next years' Families First Awards - watch this space for more information on the date and categories and start thinking about the people you feel really deserve recognition for going the extra mile in providing early help to families!

Young People's Survey 2019

A survey to find out what young people think about the services available to them and what issues affect them is taking place this month. 

YC Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire County Council’s targeted youth service, has developed a survey for all young people aged between 11-17, and up to the age of 25 for those with special educational needs.

The aim of the survey is to capture the voices of young people across Hertfordshire to help us ensure that we are delivering valuable, inclusive and relevant services and activities for young people.

We want to find out more from young people about what they want from out-of-school activities, the issues of greatest concern to them, and what we can do better.

This survey has been circulated and marketed to all participating secondary and middle schools and colleges across the county and is also available on all YC Hertfordshire’s social media platforms.

This survey opened on Friday 1st November 2019 for four weeks.

If you know a young person aged 11-17, or up to 25 if they have a special education need, please encourage them to complete the survey through their school, local youth project / group or access the link through YC Hertfordshire’s social media platforms or by emailing yc@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Please find the link below to access the survey: 


If you have any queries regarding the survey, please contact YC Hertfordshire on yc@hertfordshire.gov.uk or 0300 123 7538.

Check your service is listed on the directory

We are currently undertaking an update of the public portal and we would like to encourage all partners to take the time to check your service is listed on the directory. We are aiming to refresh the landing page for the portal and promote widely to all Hertfordshire families and therefore it essential that it is correct and contains all relative services available. 

If you know of a service that should be listed please email Jemma.Duffell@hertfordshire.gov.uk


Supported by the Transforming SEND team, the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SEND IASS) is reviewing its service.

As a professional, whether you have used our service yourself, signposted families to it, or never used it before, we want to hear from you.  We would really appreciate you telling us what you know of the service by filling in this short five-minute survey.  

Stakeholder Survey :       https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/SENDIASSstakeholdersurvey/

Your answers will help us to better meet your needs and those of the families we serve. Please feel free to share with colleagues.
All responses will remain anonymous but to help us analyse the responses, we ask that you tell us which service and organisation you work in.
Thank you for taking part. The closing date for completing the survey is 20th November 2019.


Please don’t hesitate to contact dee.debruin@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you have any queries.

Adverse Childhood Experiences- animated film

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that affect children while growing up, such as suffering child maltreatment or living in a household affected by domestic violence, substance misuse or mental illness.

This short animated film has been developed to raise awareness of ACEs, their potential to damage health across the life course and the roles that different agencies can play in preventing ACEs and supporting those affected by them.

The film has been produced for Public Health Wales and Blackburn with Darwen Local Authority.

For further information visit www.aces.me.uk

Hertfordshire Relationships Matter Roadshows 2019

Join us in our campaign to improve relationships in Hertfordshire, reduce parental conflict and improve outcomes for children.

Email ehcommissioning@hertfordshire.gov.uk to book.

InspireAll wins Lottery Funding for Hertfordshire Families

InspireAll are excited to announce that their recent application for National Lottery Community Funding has been granted to help fund additional Parenting Courses where they are commissioned by Hertfordshire County Council to run services across South and West Hertfordshire.

As a key partner in Hertfordshire’s Family Centre Service, InspireAll plan to offer local families an array of Parenting Courses from January 2020.

The courses on offer will include ‘Parenting Puzzle’, ‘Families Feeling Safe’, ‘About Me’ and ‘Family Toolkit’. The courses are designed to aid parents by offering additional support with parenting skills and emotional well-being for those dealing with challenging behavior that affects daily family life.

In order to facilitate these courses, we will be working with the Local Schools Partnerships (LSPs) and other commissioned services which will enable us to work with children aged 0 – 11 years.

The courses on offer will run throughout 2020 across Hertsmere, Watford and Three Rivers, Dacorum and St Albans and will be funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

For more information about the service please visit our website www.hertsfamilycentres.org

Caring Dads Course - new date


Caring Dads is devoted to ensuring the safety and well-being of children by working with fathers who are alleged to have abused or neglected their children or exposed them to abuse of their mothers. 

Caring Dads provides a 17-week parenting course for fathers who are in contact with their children or have the expectation of being in contact with them.

It is a cognitive behaviour therapy programme for up to 16 fathers and is delivered by trained facilitators with a background in child development or offender management.

Please note the next 17 week Caring Dads course will be in Stevenage as follows:

Thursday evenings 7 to 9 pm from 31st October 2019 to 27th February 2020 @  MIND in Mid Herts, The Wellbeing Centre, 13 Town Square, Stevenage, SG1 1BP.

Referral form available here

Please call 01727 854727 and ask for Joanna Emerson if you wish to discuss the Caring Dads programme and suitability of possible referrals.

Could you be a Domestic Abuse Community Champion?


If you have a public facing job and could help support your colleagues make referrals or signpost victims of domestic abuse to sources of help and advice we’d love to make you a Lead Domestic Abuse Champion.

The training will help people to understand the different types of domestic abuse, to spot the signs and provide victims with a safe space to let them know where they can receive support and advice.

This is a one-day free training course and the dates are below:

7th November 2019 9.30 coffee and registration for 10am start ending 16.30 pm Welwyn & Hatfield District Council, Welwyn Garden City AL8 6AE

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lead-domestic-abuse-champion-tickets-76421668267?aff=ebapi

12 February 2020 9.30 coffee and registration for 10am start ending 16.30pm East Herts District Council Wallfields Pegs Lane Hertford SG13 8EQ

BOOK HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lead-domestic-abuse-champion-tickets-76005583747

Are you up to date with SEND news in Hertfordshire?

There are numerous ways our practitioners and partners can keep abreast of what is happening in SEND services in Hertfordshire.  Did you know about the following avenues you can subscribe to and hear more? We also welcome your stories and updates too.

SEND Twitter:                   https://twitter.com/sendherts 

HAND Facebook:              https://www.facebook.com/hertsadditionalneedsdatabase/

HAND SEND News, soon to be renamed SEND news: https://handsendnews.hertfordshire.gov.uk

Or by emailing localoffer@hertfordshire.gov.uk

If you work with a young person who has a special educational need or disability (SEND) did you know they (or parents/carers) can join HAND, our Hertfordshire Additional Needs Database?

We’ve recently made a number of changes to the database, to improve data quality and strengthen security, and the new electronic HAND card is one of these changes.  The member can view the card on their mobile phone or tablet and it allows the family/young person to access perks and discounts to lots of places for family days out in Hertfordshire. Different places offer different things - for example, some places allow you to 'jump the queue', and others will have reduced entry rates.

If the family already have a physical HAND card, they can continue to use it as they always have. If they don’t yet have a HAND card they can find out more www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/hand

Reminder to notify the Families First Helpdesk when you leave your Role

If you are registered to use EHM, all the details for you to access Early Help Module (EHM) including your email and job title will be connected. If you leave your role, we need to know so that we can deactivate that account on EHM.

In September we had 53 practitioners leave their roles and not notify us.

It is the responsibility of all managers to notify the Families First Helpdesk when a member of staff leaves their position. Please email details to familiesfirstassessment@hertfordshire.gov.uk

If you leave your role and are going to be moving into a new role that requires you to have access to EHM, please ask your new manager to email us with your new details, so we can arrange for your account details to be changed.

Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass - Autumn 2019 Dates


Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass workshops offer a way of supporting parents in Hertfordshire to respond to the mental health and emotional well-being needs of their children. It aims to provide evidence based, early intervention strategies, which focuses on empowering parents to confidently respond to their child’s mental health and emotional well-being needs.

Following the workshop there is an expectation that the learnt strategies are tried and implemented. Additionally the workshop focuses on the parent and child partnership, exploring mental health and emotional well-being needs, providing psycho-education and evidence based early intervention strategies which can then be used to improve your child’s mental health and emotional well-being. 

Parents who have attended the Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass have reported leaving the masterclass feeling empowered to implement the strategies provided in the class and feel they have learnt and are taking away knowledge and understanding to use for improvement in their child’s/young person’s mental health and emotional well-being.

The Parents Masterclass Workshop is for parents only. We are unable to provide a crèche facility at this time, therefore please ensure that you arrange suitable child care when attending the workshop.

Visit the links below to book a place for a parent you are working with.

    Coming Soon! Families First - Your Voice

    As part of our commitment to the voices of children, young people and families we are in the process of setting up a Families First Parent and Carer feedback group. The group will work to provide feedback, offer constructive challenge and input into decision making and planning for future service provision. The feedback will be collated in a variety of ways, from coffee mornings to online testing during website development and our aim is to make it very flexible for parents to have involvement in a way that suits them.

    We have a proposed name of "Families First - Your Voice" and a proposed logo below. Once this group has been set up we would like to prepare a timeline of topics that we can address with families and would welcome any suggestions. Please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to be involved as this group develops.

    We will update you soon with a link for interested parents to sign up to.

    Parenting Together - Support Programme


    We’re pleased to announce The Parenting Together Programme has been live since 1st July and we’re already receiving a healthy amount of referrals.

    With many parents already starting their interventions and successfully on track to resolving parental conflict, please remember to talk to any parents you are working with about their relationships and continue to consider The Parenting Together Programme to help provide support.

    Want to know more?

    Promotional visits As a frontline practitioner supporting our families, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to help you with parents in conflict. If you think you/your team would benefit from a visit from the Parenting Together team or you would like to nominate a team you think would benefit, please get in touch here.

    Practitioner Training on Parental Conflict This autumn, we will be holding more training days - If you are in the Hertfordshire area click here to book.

    If you are not, please register your interest here for any upcoming dates in your area.


    What is The Parenting Together Programme?

    When conflict between parents is frequent, intense and poorly resolved, it can harm children's’ outcomes – regardless of whether parents are together or separated.

    The risk of conflict between parents is higher at crucial points in family life, such as becoming pregnant, having a baby, a child starting or changing school, or separation and divorce. However, relationship difficulties are often seen as a private matter, and couples tend only to seek help when they are in crisis.

    Who can be referred?

    • Parents who are currently experiencing conflict, this does not include domestic abuse
    • Parents can receive support whether they are together or separated, and they can be already in receipt of any level of support from Children’s Services or other services (e.g. open to social care)
    • Parents will be able to access the programmes in community locations and can be supported with childcare and travel costs if needed.Any practitioner supporting families in Hertfordshire, Essex, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire or Southend can make a referral.Using the link below, sign up to The Parenting Together newsletter to make sure you are accessing the most up-to-date referral forms and receiving any new updates relating to the programme. Here you will also find the ‘make a referral’ tab which includes a full step-by-step guide on how to fill in your questionnaires and send them into the team. https://www.parentingtogethersupportprogramme.org.uk/ What are the interventions available? For high level conflict:
    • Eligible parents will be able to access one of four new evidence based programmes; the level and type of intervention depends on the parents’ situation and the level of conflict:
    • For any queries regarding the programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at parentingtogether@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call on 01992 555172.
    • How can I make a referral?
    • Who can make a referral?


    Preparing for Baby

    The "Preparing for baby course" is delivered jointly by Family Support services, Midwives and Health Visitors. These are the key people to offer support through pregnancy, birth and early years. Please promote with your families.

    The booking link is: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hct-20041788297


    Flyer available HERE

    A quick survey for partners...

    We would like to take a snap-shot of how the Families First way of working has been embedded across Hertfordshire's early help services and our partners, so can we please ask you to take the time to complete our brief survey and to also pass this survey on to your colleagues/teams and partners that work within the early help services to complete themselves.

    Also if your service attends the Families First Partnership Group meetings, there is a short second survey to get your views on the benefits of these meetings..

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