Covid19 Edition 3

Families First News

The latest news

Partner Service Update

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

Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy (IDVA) Service

The IDVA service are continuing to offer support to all victims of domestic abuse around safety, security and well-being.  Refuges are still accepting victims into the accommodation and legal orders can still be applied for to protect victims from further abuse. 

If you have anyone needing advice and support please complete the referral form and return it to (duty) where the case will be allocated to an IDVA to provide advice and support.

The duty number is still available 0300 790 6772 which can be provided to the public to contact, this is for the Hertfordshire service (Monday to Friday 9-5)

The 24hr helpline is still available 24/7 on 0808 2000 247.

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. 

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 - Spectrum coronavirus response update 31-03-2020

Here’s an overview on how our Families and Young People’s team are operating during the current situation. We are still accessible via phone (0800 652 3169) and email ( during our normal opening hours so please keep in touch!

Our resilience workers are…

  1. Still offering the same level of support to young people with drug/ alcohol issues – like most services, this is being conducted over the phone
  2. Providing some (limited) face-to-face support to young people on prescribed medication – our hubs in Hatfield, Stevenage, Watford and Hertford are still open to facilitate this, where needed
  3. Checking-in with the young people they support, completing service user plans with them and providing workbooks via email

Our family and hidden harm workers are…

  1. Still doing their regular check-ins with young people who are at an appropriate age to participate in telephone calls
  2. Conducting check-ins with parents via phone, if the child isn’t old enough to do this

Please note:

• We are looking at ways to avoid disruption caused by a reduction in face-to-face contacts e.g. Whatsapp, Zoom, other video calling options
• More vulnerable young people are being contacted more regularly, with prescribed clients being contacted twice weekly
• We are still taking referrals for resilience workers and assessing over the phone
• Hidden harm referrals are being held by the team leader on a tracker until a time when support can be effectively delivered

Other resources:

• Our coronavirus page for under-21s:
• We have a list of apps and websites to help people with drug or alcohol problems here:

Resolve - Drug and alcohol Support

We hope you are all keeping safe and well during this time!

Resolve provides psychosocial drug and alcohol support for those struggling with Substance Misuse. Due to current circumstances, we are operating slightly differently to normal, however we are still offering the following support;

  • Supporting clients all over Hertfordshire from our 2 hubs in WGC and Letchworth
  • Offering online psychosocial group support 4 times a week via Zoom
  • Taking new referrals and assessing and supporting over the phone
  • Conducting 121 key work support and counselling with our trained counsellors over the phone or via Zoom

Mental Health Services

The wide range of support for people who have mental health concerns includes:
· Herts Help – a signposting and advice service which can help direct people to the right support - 0300 123 4044 or email
· Hertfordshire Mind Network crisis helpline – 01923 256 391
· NHS HPFT’s Single Point of Access - for people in a mental health crisis who live in Hertfordshire - 0300 777 0707 from 8am – 7pm, 01438 843322 out of hours or email:
· Samaritans - 116 123, 24 hours a day, every day
· The national NHS ‘Every Mind Matters’ website has expert advice and practical tips for people experiencing anxiety, low mood and sleep problems -

Herts Mind Network

Please see the current timetable and support services for anyone struggling with their mental health.

Their free one to one Peer Support service is also operating via telephone not face to face.

They have offices in Letchworth, Borehamwood, Watford, Hemel, Waltham Cross, Bishops Stortford and Borehamwood. They offer support to anyone living in Hertfordshire.

Money Advice Unit, HCC

Following recent Government guidance, unfortunately we have had to cancel all remaining face to face Money Advice Unit training in May.

If you are booked on a course in June we will be in touch to let you know if these will be going ahead.

Unfortunately we are not able to accept any further training bookings for the time being.

Families in Focus CIC

Summer courses now scheduled for zoom too and even the courses that show full, we will take parents on a wait list as some may not be able to attend zoom meetings due to caring needs, no device, or unable to access virtual platforms etc.

Handling Anger in Your Family

A free CANparent quality mark course for parents of primary aged children living in Hertfordshire

This very popular, effective and award winning anger management course offers:

  • Gain greater understanding of how anger and other emotions live in your family
  • Increase your understanding of triggers that cause angry outbursts and zones of regulation
  • Learn healthy anger management strategies for children & parents to reduce angry outbursts
  • Discover creative ways to support children to ‘let go’ of anger safely
  • Gain effective communication techniques to reduce angry outbursts
  • Meet and share experiences with other parents living in families similar to yours

A Complete Guide to Parenting Children with SEND

This course is free to any parent living in Hertfordshire and caring for a primary aged children awaiting diagnosis or with a diagnosis of Autism, ADHD, SEND.
Lesley & Francine are parents and experienced & qualified trainers.

Topics included:

  • Understanding the language of SEND, helpful services and signposting
  • Gain greater understanding of behaviours that challenge and answer the question, ‘Why does my child do that?’
  • Learn a range of strategies & solutions, to better manage & reduce behaviours that challenge.
  • Gain more understanding of anger triggers and strategies to reduce angry meltdowns.
  • Learn how to support siblings living with a sister/brother with additional needs/challenging behaviours.
  • Learn communication techniques to reduce ‘emotional traffic jams’ and improve your child’s emotional regulation

Techniques to manage the emotional journey & parental stress & conflict and so much more


We understand that many of our service users will be worried and concerned about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Please be assured that our services are still open, and we offer both telephone support and online support for anyone affected by problem gambling.

The National Gambling Helpline is open 24 hours every day on Freephone 0808 80 20 133, or you can live chat with us.

We appreciate that these are unusual times and for some people coping with the stress of this and self-isolation may increase urges to gamble. Please contact GamCare Hertfordshire for help and support if this is the case – we are here if you need us.

All new assessments for clients into GamCare Hertfordshire will be held over the phone. We will be in touch with all current clients to arrange ongoing telephone support. If you would like to have a chat about what might work best for you, please give us a call on 0143 848 7003.

If you would like to register for online (video) treatment please click here.

Our Forum is also available throughout the day and overnight to connect you to others in similar situations so that you can seek and share support. We are also providing chatroom sessions twice a day and are planning to increase these to provide additional support.

Additionally, our GameChange course is available for those who would like to work through an online course, supported by regular contact with a GamCare therapist.

We also have more information available on blocking software and self-exclusion, plus self-help resources:


Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS update)

With community buildings, schools and other venues shutting their doors, Hertfordshire Adult Family Learning Service and our network of partners have been busy developing an online version of our courses.

Thanks to the determination of the team, our Spring courses have been taught remotely while the Summer term of courses will also now be delivered in real-time, online, for free.

Meanwhile, our partners are not only delivering planned courses online – they have also developed some additional courses to help cope mentally in this unprecedented crisis affecting us all.

This summer, we will have a range of family courses where both the parent and child(ren) can get involved. These include;

  • Family Mindfulness
  • Family Maths Key Stage 2
  • Family English

During these 2-hour weekly online courses held across 5 weeks, the parent will be able to learn before the child is then involved in the second part of the session in a fun activity.

To access our courses, please visit us at or call us on 01992 556194. To find out more information on the courses our partners are offering, follow us on Facebook.

BorrowBox - Hertfordshire Libraries online library service!

Our libraries may be closed but our online library is still open! All Hertfordshire Library members can access BorrowBox, allowing you to listen or read our online eBook and eAudiobook catalogue for free.

We have new releases of children’s fiction, adult fiction, biographies and non-fiction titles available to download on your phone, tablet or laptop.

For more information visit about how to access our online catalogue visit:


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.