Families First News

Front page - Welcome

Welcome to our Summer Newsletter

We have a fresh new look for the newsletter which we hope proves easy to navigate so you do not miss any of the informative articles. We always welcome your feedback so please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk with any suggestions you may have for future editions.

With the school summer holidays rapidly approaching, we are pleased to be able to give you details of the
Fit, Fed and Read programme which is now running across the county and aims to confront the growing issues of hunger, isolation and physical inactivity in children from low income families during the school holidays. YC Herts also have the
Positive Alternatives Summer Programme - which includes group sessions for teenagers covering healthy relationships, sexual health, drugs and alcohol, social media and Citizen Aid. There is also an article to help key workers who are working with families with Families First Assessments plan for the summer holidays.

We have added some localised activities in Broxbourne and Hertsmere. Please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to add any "free to access" local district activities taking place throughout the holidays to this page.

We also have news from the Royal Garden Party, where Jackie Clementson attended with Karen Dorney. Jackie was nominated to attend by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for work on the national Troubled Families programme and transforming early help services in Hertfordshire. Read more about the day.

Don't forget to visit 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.

Thank you for reading

Best wishes from the Families First Development Team

The latest news

Planning for the Summer Holidays

Reminder to Keyworkers of Families First Assessment

As we approach the end of summer term, we are aware that there will be a number of Keyworkers of open Families First Assessments (FFA) who work term time only so will be on holiday during the schools summer holidays.

We would like to remind and encourage Keyworkers of open FFAs who will be away during the summer break to start planning for this, to ensure families continue to receive support by undertaking the following steps:

  • TAF Meetings – If you have a TAF meeting coming up in the next few weeks, use this meeting with your TAF members and the family to review support in place, including considering if all needs have been met and the FFA needs to remain open or can close; 
  • If the FFA needs to remain open during summer holidays:

    • identify and agree a member of the TAF to be the main link/ contact for the family during summer holidays, and ensure you give this person access to the case on EHM and give their details to the family; 
    • ensure you update your case notes on EHM on all FFAs for which you are a Keyworker including all TAF meeting notes and Family Plan, setting out what support is in place for the family, who will be the key contact for the family during your absence and any key information including any risks etc. Keeping the case note up to date on EHM will help in the event that the needs of the family escalate during the summer holidays to ensure the family is offered appropriate support.
    • give family information on how to access information and services via Families First Portal
  • If the FFA needs to close, please ensure your case note on the Episode and TAF meeting notes, Family Plan and Outcomes Review are all updated and uploaded on EHM and your closure summary and family feedback is completed and FFA is closed before you go on summer break;
  • Where it is possible and consent is obtained from the family, It is also good practice for Keyworkers to share their Home Tray in EHM with a Team Manager or colleague, this ensures that a member of your team will be able to access the case if required in your absence. Please see the ‘How to guide’ on the Families First Portal.
  • If as a Keyworker you are having difficulty identifying a temporary Keyworker from within the TAF members, or require support to update your case notes on EHM before the summer break, please seek advice and support from your Local Senior Families First Coordinator or Families First Co-ordinator as soon as possible so they can support you before end of term to complete this.
  • Families First Partnerships, Practice and Development Team have set out their Practice and Support Offer for all Partners, including Keyworkers delivering Early Help in each double district with contact names and numbers in a downloadable flyer which is available on the Portal – FFPPD Team Offer

Troubled Families Update

The Troubled Families Programme (2015 –2020) was developed to achieve significant and sustained progress for up to 400,000 families with multiple, high-cost problems. This is backed by £920m of government investment. This funding supports local areas through a mix of grant funding and payments by results. In addition to the successful progress achieved by families, the programme is also a driver to securing localised transformation of public services working with families with multiple problems through the development of an integrated, ‘whole family approach’. A national evaluation was published in March 2019 about the progress to date and the headlines about the impact the programme is having.

This programme is run from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and managed by upper tier local authorities in England and their partners. The Hertfordshire payment by results element of funding is based upon providing evidence of 4,670 families, across the five years, who have achieved significant or sustained progress against the needs originally identified or families no longer being reliant on out of work benefits through moving into sustained employment. To date, evidence has been submitted for 2,647 families and we now have nine months to evidence the success for a further 2,023 families. Achieving this will generate £1.62 million for the county.

The headline problems for the Troubled Families programme are:

  1. worklessness
  2. poor school attendance
  3. mental and physical health problems
  4. crime and anti-social behaviour
  5. domestic violence and abuse
  6. children who are classified as in need of help and protection.

We need your help! Although we can evidence outcomes for families receiving support from Families First Assessments, Short Term Work, Youth Justice and the work of the Family Safeguarding teams, we are aware that there are a lot of other families receiving support and achieving great outcomes, but the details of these are held on local systems.

Where this is the case, are you aware or specific examples of families you have supported over the last three years, where at least two of the headline problems have been apparent and addressed? Is there also evidence that a worker has led a whole family assessment and action plan, which covers the needs of the relevant family members?

If you can help, please get in touch, as the success achieved could be included in the county submission to MHCLG. For further information, please email Families First support FamiliesFirst.Support@hertfordshire.gov.uk and someone from the Evaluation & Development Team will be in touch.

Calling all families!

Hertfordshire County Council have launched a short survey and are looking for families to help understand which services for children and young people they use and how they find their information.

The results of the survey will be used to help make sure that the right information and advice is available to support families, and that it’s easy for parents, grandparents and carers to find what they need.

In Hertfordshire there are a range of services, as well as information and advice available to support families including counselling services, local groups, clubs and activities, health services, SEND services and parenting courses. It’s important that everyone caring for a child or young person has access to these services and information to give every family a helping hand if and when needed.

Please pass on to parents, grandparents or carers and encourage them to take the time to complete the survey and help shape future services and information.

Survey closes 14 July. Thank you, we appreciate your help.

Survey Link : www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/familiesfirstsurvey

Posters are available to send on to parents or display and can be download here:-


Disguised Compliance and Avoidant Families – Tips

Disguised Compliance and Avoidant Families – Tips

 “Adults who deliberately exploit the vulnerability of children can behave in devious and menacing ways. They will often go to great lengths to hide their activities from those concerned for the well-being of a child. Staff often have to cope with the unpredictable behaviour of people in the parental role…And It is a job which carries risks, because in every judgement they make, those staff have to balance the rights of a parent with that of the protection of the child” (Lord Laming 2003:13)

When you receive a new family or allocation

 At the point of the start of the work- check information from within and without your agency:

Check any indicators of such previous behaviours: Forms of resistance:

  • Resistance
  • Non co-operation
  • Avoidance- not answering door, phone etc.; attending nursery/school/Health Visitor appointments?
  • Disguised compliance

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What were the nature and contents of these exactly? What forms did they take? 
  • How did previous workers/agencies try to deal with these? Were they effective or not? Why? 
  • How and when will you raise such matters in supervision/with your manager?
  • How and where will you record what you are concerned about?

Having difficult conversations

Consider the following:

  • How will you introduce yourself and your role to the parent(s) and child?
  • How will you in particular raise the issue of how you might take into account how the parent(s) engage with you and allow you to engage with the child (ren) in relation to any possible resistance?
  • What might alert you i) initially and ii) over time to   any possible resistance?
  • The parents are refusing to let you see the bedrooms/speak to the child on their own. What now?
  • Parents with learning difficulties- fear of being judged as inadequate /bad parents, and losing children- and has a reality to it; so conceal.
  • Parents with substance misuse and or mental health problems
  • Issues of cultural sensitivity versus cultural relativity.


What behaviour/talk from/dynamics within the family might alert you to resistance as a problem?

  • Ambivalence: parents are often late for appointments, or repeatedly make excuses for missing them; changing the conversation away from uncomfortable topics (avoidance) and/or when they use dismissive body language.
  • Splitting- within families, with workers, and within worker support/monitoring mechanisms- good worker/bad worker, good agency/ bad agency
  • Denial- not allowing easy contact with child, especially on own; refusing to acknowledge abuse/problems
  • Displacement activity- into more habitual, familiar behaviour/talking- housing/benefits/neighbours etc.
  • Disguised compliance: Seeming to want to please us/ go along with our plans... But...?
  • Avoidance- not answering the door as opposed to not being in; frequently/always saying child with relatives/friends

Parents distracting us may:

  • Praise us /distract us by other means OR
  • Play the victim (e.g. Baby Peter Connelly)

Workers may be viewed as

  • Kindly
  • ‘Gullible’
  • Wishing to make things ‘OK’, without challenging the abusive dynamics.

Be alert to:

  • Who seems to be allowed to speak, controlled by whom?
  • Who seems to be allowed to be with you alone, controlled by whom?
  • What non-verbal communication between family members/ family members and you might alert you to dynamics of keeping secrets/controlling what is said to workers, by whom?
  • How might you be seen from within the parents’ views/strategies to keep you at bay?
  • How might you be seen from within the child’s views/strategies to keep you at bay?
  • Rule of optimism- dual role, care/control Adult to Adult communication- expectations of honesty to and from worker and parents, and ideally set out in the planning/agreement meeting notes/CP conference minutes, so demonstrate all agencies are saying this, to try to avoid splitting. Do try to do this in a way which depersonalises it from yourself as an individual making criticisms of the parent – we know that being non-judgemental is key to achieving engagement, and the parents feeling that you are concerned about them as people (see C4EO), whilst also at the same time your making clear that the well-being and the welfare of the child is paramount to the concerns of the agency you represent.


  • “Our areas of concern are... (State clearly, and by doing so, depersonalize from you- these are all the agencies expectations in order to be able ensure child is safe and well) 
  • “We know it is difficult to be open with us because of your worries about our role/what we are trying/maybe planning to do… (Acknowledge dual role/what agencies powers are- but also in most, no orders, etc.) 
  • “where we need to get to for you and your child is…”- (be specific in treatment of child, engagement with agencies- if concerned at not engaging, agencies will need to consider plans again (and this should be in agreement recorded with the other agencies involved)
  • “What needs to change for you and us (agencies) to be assured the child is safe and well?”

Parenting Together - Support Programme


The Parenting Together Programme is now open for referrals!

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.

Who can make a referral:

Any practitioner supporting families in Hertfordshire, Essex, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire or Southend can make a referral.

How can I 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/

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.

What are the interventions available:

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 high level conflict:

For moderate conflict:

Subscribe to the Parenting Together newsletter Here

Private Fostering - Do you know what this is?


Private Fostering is when any child or young person under the age of 16 (or 18 if disabled) is living away from their parents for 28 days or more and are living with someone who is not:

  • A parent
  • An immediate relative (brother/sisters, grandparents , aunts /uncles, step-parents ( if married). More extended members of the family are not deemed as immediate relatives.
  • Someone who has legal parental responsibility for them

There are many reasons why children and young people may be living away from their parents or an immediate relative. However, many parents make private arrangements unaware there is a legal obligation to inform the Local Authority of the arrangement and or that the Local Authority have a duty to safeguard children living in Private Fostering arrangements. It is estimated there are thousands of children and young people living in private fostering arrangements but notifications to the Local Authorities are low both in Hertfordshire and nationally.

If we know about the arrangements, we can provide advice and support to the child or young person, to the carer and the parents.

These are some of the examples of Private Fostering arrangements:

H has aged 13 has not been getting on with her parents and after another argument she went to stay at a friend’s home.  She has been there for three months.

T aged 15 and has lived with her father and his partner since she was five. They never married and have recently split up. T has decided she wants to live with her father’s ex-partner.

S aged 11, and K aged 7, live with their mother who has mental health issues and has been in hospital for a month. S and K have been staying with their cousin Jenny and her family.

S, aged 14, has come to the UK from Russia to learn English for eight weeks and has been staying with a host family.

T aged 6, had been brought from Nigeria to the UK by his mother and was left with a family friend whom he refers to as ‘auntie’, while his mother returned to Nigeria. There has been no contact with his mother since and his ‘auntie’ has continued to care for him.

J  is 17 and has cerebral palsy. His father recently passed away following a short illness and he is now staying with a family friend.  J has no contact with his mother.

F is 15 and from Ireland. He has been selected for a Premiership Football Club Academy in the UK and is staying with a host family.    

During Private Fostering Week (8 – 12 July 2019) the Local Authority  aim to raise and increase awareness of Private Fostering, and to encourage anyone who may know of a child or young person living in a Private Fostering arrangement, to contact  01442 453595 .

The Family and Friends Team will be holding information stands at the Hertfordshire sites, and people are invited to come along, between 11am – 2pm, by the canteen area on:

  • Tuesday 9th July 2019 - Apsley Two, Brindley Way, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9BF
  • Wednesday 10th July 2019 - County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DQ
  • Friday 12th July 2019 - Farnham House, Six Hills Way, Stevenage, SG1 2ST

If you are aware of a child or young person who is not living with their parents or you need help or advice about Private Fostering arrangements, please contact our Family and Friends Fostering team on 01442 453595 or Customer Services Centre on 0300 123 4043 or  alternatively visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk and search for ‘Alternatives to Fostering’.

The flyer for Private Fostering can be found Here

Fit, Fed and Read - Summer 2019

Fit and Fed is a national initiative developed by StreetGames UK which aims to confront the growing issues of hunger, isolation and physical inactivity in children from low income families during the school holidays.

Fit and Fed projects can take many shapes, but the consistent themes are that they provide holiday physical activity sessions where young people can socialise, be active and there is nutritious food served. HSP have worked in close partnership with StreetGames to take the programme that has proved successful in other areas of the country and develop a tailored Hertfordshire approach.

Fit, Fed and Read is the Herts Sports Partnership (HSP) variation of the national StreetGames UK programme ‘Fit and Fed’ which also aims to combat the education attainment issues commonly experienced by young people throughout the school holidays.

Fit, Fed and Read
Each four-hour day consists of:

  • Two hours of physical activity
  • One hour of fun education
  • One hour of two-course nutritious cooked lunch

Participant entry criteria:

  • Aged between 7-12 years
  • Eligible for free school meals

Physical Activity

  • Games based physical activity

Fun Education

  • Healthy Eating & Nutrition (games based) (Hertfordshire Catering Ltd)
  • Creative Literacy (Hertfordshire Libraries)
  • Fire and Community Safety (Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service)


  • Two-course Nutritious Hot Lunch (Hertfordshire Catering Ltd)

Event Locations (please click for more information)

You can find the Entry Form here


Baldock and Letchworth

Bishop's Stortford



Hemel Hempstead


St Albans



Dispelling the uncertainties regarding the Children’s Wellbeing Team

The Children’s Wellbeing team focuses on Psychological support for Children and Young People experiencing Mild – Moderate Anxiety and Low Mood. We are part of the CAMHS transformation however as the Hertfordshire CWP’s sit within Children’s Services Families First organisation we are more accessible in our approach to therapeutic intervention.

The CWP service is based on Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT). The Guided Self-Help model utilises cognitive behaviour therapy in its approach. The focus is on symptom management not symptom recovery, we are a non-diagnostic service. The team consists of Qualified and Trainee practitioners; however, all trainees are undergraduates at commencement of training.

Our aim is to deliver an early help mental health service and consequently we do not work with challenging behaviour that has emerged due to environmental factors and this is supported by clinical rationale.

  1. Our intervention is brief, generally affording eight sessions, which can include face to face and telephone sessions. The brief therapy is not clinic based so it helps to break down barriers to accessing mental health support, evoking confidence and dispel some stigma’s relating to mental health challenges for the individual through normalising symptoms. 
  2. Our intervention requires we build a trusting working relationship with the people we work with. As practitioners we work in complete alliance with the Child, Young Person, Parent or Carer affording the respect and autonomy of choice. It is consensual, and we do not encourage the Child or Young Person to be persuaded into accessing CWP intervention.

The relationship-based approach gives validation to the person’s thoughts and feelings and guided self-help is crucial to contribute to the advancement and maintenance of progress. Often with the strength, enabling based approach, and the intervention we can rebuild confidence and their sense of self and support the person to independent self-management of their symptoms.

If a Child/Young Person has presenting emerging needs they should initially be supported by universal provision such as Protective Behaviour work, School Nursing teams or in school Counselling where appropriate.

Generally, it is recommended that no further therapeutic support is introduced during or for three months after intervention unless the intervention has not shown signs of improvement for the Child or Young Person and there is an escalation regarding more significant symptoms. In addition, if it is considered that the child’s mental health requires more specialist support then it is likely our service is not appropriate and a referral for the right service should be requested through Single Point of Access or via GP support.

In order to access the CWP service Children and Young People need to be:

Between the ages of 5-18 years,

Presenting with Anxiety, Low Mood or Co-Morbid Anxiety and Low Mood,

On school role (unless the anxiety is not based around the school environment),

NOT affected by the following:

  • Current Domestic Abuse in the family home within the last 3 months and/or where the perpetrator of the abuse resides in the family home
  • Current Substance Misuse (Parent/Carer/YP) or use within the last 3 months
  • Parental Conflict which has not been resolved
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (These CYP’s should be directed to CAMHS)
  • Eating Disorder (These CYP’s should be directed to CAMHS)
  • Active Suicidal Intent or Attempt within the last 6 months (These CYP’s should be directed to CAMHS)

We cannot work with Children and Young People who are currently accessing or have accessed:

  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) within the last 12 months
  • Step 2 (Within the last 12 months)
  • Counselling, Art, Play or Drama Therapy (Within the last 3 months)
  • Protective Behaviours (Within the last 3 months)

Children and Young People with a developmental diagnosis:

Children and Young People who have a diagnosis, or awaiting assessment, of ADHD or ASD cannot be offered appropriate support from the service with regards to the presenting associated behaviours. Children and Young People who have a formal diagnosis of ADHD or ASD we may be able to offer support in relation to managing low mood and/or anxiety. However, IAPT approach does not always provide positive change for people who are symptomatic of ASD/ADHD and therefore any referral will be considered on the CYP’s capacity and in consultation with Parents/Carers.

If the below are historical (over 3 months) issues for parents:

  • Parents/carers with mental health difficulties MUST be receptive to CWP advice and this will be informed through the Initial assessment.
  • Parents/Carers with substance misuse issues MUST be receptive to CWP advice and this will be informed through the Initial assessment.

How do we offer support?

The team receive both internal (HCC) and external referrals, including self-referrals.

Children and Young People whose mental health needs are considered appropriate for the CWP’s intervention will be offered Guided Self Help through:

  • 1-1 Interventions with young people (secondary school age) and Parent/Carers
  • School based Group work (6 weeks – Years 9 &10)
  • Parent Training Group work for Child Anxiety/mild low mood (6 sessions – Children under 11)
  • Anxiety workshops to year six groups can be offered to Primary schools on request of school.

For more information and to access referral documents please go to the CWP Families First Portal

Author: Vicky Stewart, Qualified CWP

Supporting You!

Supporting You

Supporting You is a 7 week referral programme, aimed at young people aged 11-18yrs who are beginning to show very early signs of distress due to anxiety or low mood but who are not receiving support elsewhere such as CAMHS

Supporting You Groups provide 2 hour sessions in a friendly atmosphere, once a week for seven weeks where 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

Supporting You is based on the Decider Programme, a CBT programme developed by experienced Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists in co-production with service users which is;

  • Evidence-based (CBT & DBT) and effective.
  • Memorable and easy to use.
  • Creative, fun and interactive.

Who can refer into this Programme?

  • Professionals working in Hertfordshire can refer into this programme.

How to refer into this programme?

Click here to make a referral. Staff from YC Hertfordshire will respond to the referral and contact the young person to go through the details of the course and invite them to a 1-2-1- pre-group meeting.

Download a copy of the leaflet below:-

Positve Alternatives for Young People

Positive Alternatives

The +Alt programme runs during term-time over ten weeks, and during the summer holidays over two weeks. The summer programme also includes sports and music sessions.

All programmes include ten dynamic and interactive workshop sessions which focus on:

  • identity and belonging
  • gang culture
  • stereotypes and
  • gender
  • responsibilities
  • county lines
  • knife crime and
  • reducing use of weapons

The programme also includes group sessions covering healthy relationships, sexual health, drugs and alcohol, social media and Citizen Aid

You can refer a young person to this programme by using this link.  The programme would be particularly beneficial to young people who are:

  • not in employment, education or training
  • persistently absent and/or excluded from school or an Educational Support Centre
  • at risk of criminal exploitation
  • at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation
  • experiencing poor mental health

Find out more about the programme Here

National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Honour-Based Abuse

Sunday July 14 marks the 5th National Day of Remembrance for victims of honour based abuse.

A fact sheet on the issue is available here

Find out more about the programme of events hosted by Karma Nirvana and how to book your place at www.karmanirvana.org.uk/2019-2

Set up by national charity Karma Nirvana, in memory of Shafilea Ahmed, it is now the annual #DayofMemory where #WeRemember those who have lost their lives to so-called #HonourKillings. To support the day, Hertfordshire’s Domestic Abuse Partnership is calling on everyone to look out for signs of such abuse.

Events are going on across the country to raise awareness of honour-based abuse and closely related issues like female genital mutilation and forced marriage.   Karma Nirvana are hosting a national professional’s event to mark the Day of Memory at Leeds Civic Hall on Monday 15th July, as well as hosting a number of free Community Roadshows around the country between July and December.   Locally, Watford Women’s Centre plus will be hosting a Day of Memory on 4th July at the centre by serving refreshments and raising awareness of the issues between 2pm and 4pm.

This time of year is particularly important as the risk to British children and teenagers of being taken abroad to be forced into marriage or undergo female genital mutilation increases. That’s why we are again supporting #KarmaNirvana with their awareness campaign.

Today and over the coming week, the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership will be using social media to raise awareness of these issues using the official hashtags #WeRemember and #DayofMemory.

Sarah Taylor, Developmemt Manager, Domestic Abuse “We remain committed to raising awareness of these issues among the local workforce and community. However honour-based abuse, FGM and forced marriage continue to be of concern. These forms of abuse require vigilance and understanding throughout our community in order to identify those at risk so authorities can offer interventions to prevent it happening or the much needed support in cases where it does.”

 “Many people assume these issues do not exist where they live but we know there may be victims living in Hertfordshire although reporting levels may not reflect the true scale of the issue. Very often those at risk are young or vulnerable and their abusers may be a family or community member. These cases can be complex and must be dealt with sensitively whilst simultaneously providing protection and support to victims.”

For more information about honour based abuse visit www.hertssunflower.org/information-for-professionals/honour-based-abuse-forced-marriage-and-female-genital-mutilation.aspx or look out for social media posts.

Anyone affected or concerned about domestic abuse can also talk in confidence and for free by calling the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline on 08 088 088 088 (9am-9pm Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm Sat / Sun).

Female Genital Mutilation - Let's protect our girls!

The Home Office is launching a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) campaign on 5 October and will be running for eight weeks as part of our commitment to tacklingthis crime and protecting vulnerable women and girls. A fact sheet on the issue is available here

The campaign will support our ongoing work to tackle FGM, which includes an ongoing programme of outreach by the Home Office’s FGM Unit, work with law enforcement bodies, and working with partners to help ensure the Government’s response is as effective as it can be.

The campaign seeks to help prevent FGM by changing attitudes among affected communities through raising awareness of the negative long-term health consequencesof FGM. The campaign also encourages communities to report via the NSPCC’s FGM helpline.

We would be grateful for your support with this campaign and we encourage you to use the resources in this partner pack to promote the campaign through your channels. Please contact the VAWG inbox if you have any questions.

In addition to the campaign, the Home Office will be hosting an international Policy For Progress: Ending FGM and Forced Marriage conference in November 2018, in partnership with the Council of Europe. The event will bring together experts from across Europe and beyond to share practical examples of international work to end FGM and Forced Marriage. This includes influential policymakers, frontline professionals, non-Governmental organisations and inspiring campaigners.

For more details please contact: visitsandevents1@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.

Specialist Domestic Abuse Service in St Albans


Learning & development

Supporting the children of alcohol dependent parents - New website for practitioners

As part of the government’s programme to support children of alcohol dependent parents DHSC have funded the Children’s Society to develop a website aimed at practitioners and you may want to make services in your area aware of the site.  We have received the following from the Children’s Society which provides a little more detail:

The site provides a mix of digital support & training resources, awareness raising sessions and more formalised training events.  It is populated with practitioner focused resources for those providing immediate support to affected young people and also links to organisations that can provide tailored support.

The functionality of the website allows professionals to opt-in to receive communication via the subscription function and we will be developing communities of interest using current networks, regional training workshops and face-to-face engagement. The subscription function will support these communities through regular and targeted mailing aligned to regional activity, project advances and upcoming dates for our training workshops.

My Teen Brain - new dates

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 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) 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:

  • Tuesday 22nd October
  • Wednesday 13th November
  • Thursday 14th November
  • Wednesday 15th January
  • Thursday 16th January

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.


Caring Dads Courses

Upcoming Caring Dads courses are as follows:

Watford 2019

Current plan Mondays 7 to 9 pm starting on  15th July – depending on venue confirmed next week.

Stevenage 2019

Scheduled start Autumn / Winter 2019 term

Broxbourne / Hatfield 2019

Possible start early 2020 - depending on venue / funding

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

HACRO’s Caring Dads office is only open when I am working which is usually 2 days per week. I normally work Monday and Thursday but with bank holidays this can be variable. There is no ‘out of office’ email message facility. The office answerphone will announce when the office will next be open.

Best Regards, Joanna

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.


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


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 Baby's Brain - NEW DATES

My Baby’s Brain: five to thrive

Hertfordshire County Council's My Baby's Brain: five to thrive one-day training aims to equip practitioners, who work with parents of children aged 0-3, with an understanding of how brain development happens in babies and children, and how they can help parents, children and babies to form strong attachments that will encourage healthy development.

Training is available on the following dates:

  • Thursday 11th July 2019
  • Tuesday 10th September 2019
  • Thursday 3rd October 2019
  • Thursday 14th November 2019
  • Tuesday 3rd December 2019
  • Thursday 16th January 2020

If you work with parents of young children in Hertfordshire, and would like to book on please book here.

My Baby’s Brain: Vulnerability, Trauma and Recovery

My Baby's Brain recognises that parents need to be able to respond, physiologically engage, relax, play and talk. However many parents, for a range of reasons, are not able to do all or any of these activities.

This additional training day will primarily look at vulnerability, toxic stress, trauma and recovery but also incorporate elements of secondary trauma. This training is available for practitioners who work with parents of children aged 0-3 and have already completed My Baby’s Brain: five to thrive.

The next set of training dates available are:

  • Thursday 12th September 2019
  • Tuesday 15th October 2019
  • Thursday 7th November 2019
  • Thursday 23rd January 2020
  • Tuesday 4th February 2020

If you have already completed the one day My Baby’s Brain training and work with higher need families and would like to book on one of the above dates please book here.



Difference we're making

Royal Garden Party

Jackie and KarenJackie Clementson and Karen Dorney, who both work in Children Services, attended the Royal Garden Party on the 29th of May at Buckingham Place. Jackie was nominated to attend by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for work on the national Troubled Families programme and transforming early help services in Hertfordshire. An official invitation was sent from the Lord Chancellor to Jackie who was accompanied by Karen, who had also been working on the programme.

The Queen, Prince Harry and Princess Beatrice were in attendance to over 8000 guests from the public sector, armed forces and voluntary and community sector. Speaking about the event Jackie said "Despite the good old English weather it was an honour to be invited and it is a once in a lifetime and truly memorable experience.2"

Local area news

Summer Events in Broxbourne

Helping children in Waltham Cross stay fit and fed this summer

Fit and Fed is a scheme encouraging young people and their families to join in with games and sport activities, as well as learning about healthy eating and how to prepare a healthy meal.

Ran by Broxbourne Council’s Community Development Team, the scheme will run in collaboration with sport charity StreetGames and organisations including , B3 Living and Aldwyck Housing Group.

The Fit and Fed sessions are aimed at 8-16 year olds and completely free to attend. Sessions will be running every morning from 10.00am - 12.30pm, Monday to Friday at Isabella House Nursery, 22 July – 30 August.

Flyers and consent forms can be found Here


Come and join us in your local park for loads of FREE summer activities.

Laser Tag + Nerf Wars + Water Fights + American Football + Dodgeball + Archery + Tennis + Basketball + Cricket + Football + Rounders + Volleyball + Pickleball 

Lark in the Park is free and is taking place in local parks all over Broxbourne.  There’s a session running from 2pm – 4pm every week day from Monday 22 July until Friday 30 August 2019.

Monday – Grundy Park (Cheshunt) excluding Bank Holiday Monday
Tuesday – Cedars Park (Theobalds)
Wednesday – Cheshunt Park (Cheshunt)
Thursday – Barclay Park (Hoddesdon)
Friday – Fishers Close Park (Waltham Cross)

Flyers can be found Here


A full list of events taking place can be found Here

A poster for the event can be found Here

Arts, Soul & Vibes in Hertsmere

Arts, Soul & Vibes’ is a social action volunteering project for young people aged 14-20 in the Hertsmere area to support a local charity (chosen by them) through raising money via a final ticketed performance of their creative talents.

The event will comprise of performances by young people doing a variety of acts. It is open to different talents, such as poetry, dance, music, comedy and acting, but can be anything that can be performed. We would love to assist the young people in their performances by providing workshops to support them if needed. We would like the young people themselves to feel as involved as possible, not only through the performances but also through marketing and design, etc. for the event if that is more in-line with their interests.

If you know of any organisations that are aimed at this age group we are happy to come and talk directly to the young people to explain the event and answer any questions they may have. However, if you feel comfortable with the details of the event, I have included an application form if you have any young people who would like to take part in the project, in any role.

Please view the  flyer containing the basic information and the registration form

The preliminary date for the final performance will be Saturday 10th August in Borehamwood.

For more information contact events@learningthroughthearts.co.uk or register at: http://www.learningthroughthearts.co.uk/events/

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