Families First News

Front page - Welcome


Welcome to the March edition of Families First News.

It's an exciting edition, with news on our first annual Families First Awards! Which is a great opportunity to recognise the good work being undertaken across the partnerships within early help. All shortlisted nominees will be invited to an afternoon tea at the Watersmeet Theatre!

We also have updates from the new Families First Practice Forums which has had a successful launch over the last month, a Family Centre Update and dates for the Fit, Fed and Read Easter programme, and much more. Please also don't forget to take a look at our Learning and Development pages as well as our Difference we are Making.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and find it helpful.

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

The latest news

Get Voting! Our Families First Awards are now live

We are very excited to announce that the nomination process has now opened for our first annual Families First Awards! These awards coincide with two years of the Families First Triage process and will be a great opportunity to celebrate the positive work that is being undertaken across all our partnerships in early intervention and recognise those individuals and teams that have made an exceptional effort in their work. The awards ceremony is being held on 25th April at the Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth where all shortlisted nominees will be invited to a celebrate their success and enjoy an afternoon tea.

There are a total of 13 categories which we feel confidently represents all the individuals and agencies working within early help. You can view the categories and make nominations at the following link:-



NOTE: This survey is for professionals only and not open to the public.



NEW: Families First Practice Forums

Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team successfully launched the first of the new Families First Practice Forums in February 2019. The Forums were well attended by a range of families first colleagues who have given the following positive feedback……

Family Support Lead with a Local School Partnership in Broxbourne said…..

“Really useful information and reminders for using the system. Thank you!”

SENCO from Hertsmere School

“A useful open discussion with other practitioners to share knowledge”

Carers in Herts, countywide felt it was ….

“Easy to ask questions and good to speak to other practitioners”

DSL/Deputy Lead Tudor School ……

“Key points of session were clear and easy to share within the group “

Attendees at Stevenage and North Herts Forum said….

“It was useful to watch the demos and navigate through the system including the Families First Portal”

“A useful re-cap of EHM”

“Q&A session was beneficial”

The presentation of the first Families First Forum has now been uploaded to the Families First Portal and can be found here

Families First Practice Forums

Further themed learning has been suggested by those who attended and we will be planning future Forums around these suggestions.

The next Families First Forums take place week commencing 18th March 2019, and will focus on Undertaking a Families First Assessment.

For further information on local Practice Forums, including meeting dates, themes for upcoming meetings and to book your attendance or individual case sessions, please  visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/familiesfirstpractitioners


Family Centre Update

The second edition of the Hertfordshire Family Centre Service Partner newsletter is now available to view.

Please sign up to receive an electronic copy


Fit, Fed and Read

Fit, Fed and Read is aimed at children aged 8-11 who are eligible for free school meals. The programme seeks to offer high quality holiday activity sessions - including support with literacy, in Hertfordshire's most needed neighbourhoods, with a nutritious mean every day, free of charge. The project will consist of a combination of fund sports and activities, fun learning sessions and a daily free cooked lunch provided by Hertfordshire Catering Ltd.

Please help us to identify and refer the children who are most likely to benefit from this targeted programme.

Click here for more information and to make an online referral: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fit-fed-read-easter-2019-tickets-56412529394


Contracts for the provision of Drug and Alcohol Services in Hertfordshire

Following a full competitive tender, Hertfordshire County Council awarded the contracts for the provision of drug and alcohol services in Hertfordshire and the new services go live from 1st April 2019.

The All Age Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services will be delivered by "change, grow, live" (CGL). This service will provide evidence-based treatment interventions to those who are still using drugs and alcohol and in early stages of recovery and will support carers of those with drug and alcohol concerns to access the right support.

The local provision will be called Spectrum. Interventions will continue to be delivered from a number of sites and community access points across the county. Services will be delivered to young people separately from the adult provision by Spectrum FYP (Families and Young People) in settings and at times that are accessible, without stigma and young person/family friendly.

For more detailed information please visit the CGL website

The Community Rehabilitation Services for Adults will be delivered by The Living Room. This service will provide structured, abstinence-based rehabilitation treatment to adults in Hertfordshire who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. The service offers a family-approach to rehabilitation by offering structured group work and personalised counselling support for individuals, families and carers affected by addiction.

For more detailed information please visit: The Living Room website 

For any additional information, please contact; Gill Goodlad

Assistant Director - Health Protection and Resilience, Public Health Team

E: gill.goodlad@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Brian Gale

Senior Commissioning Manager

Public Health Service

E: brian.gale@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Joella Scott

Strategy Manager: Early Help Commissioning, Family Services Commissioning, Children's Services

E: joella.scott@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Gary Ray

Community Protection Manager

County Community Safety Unit

E: gary.ray@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Safer Places Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker (ISAC) Service

Safer Places is pleased to announce the launch of their new Hertfordshire Stalking Service (ISAC). This funding was obtained from the Ministry of Housing with sponsorship from Hertfordshire County Council and will be an important step to keeping Domestic Abuse Stalking victims safe and building cases against those responsible.

What is stalking?

Stalking is about fixation and obsession. It is a high risk factor for serious harm and homicide, as well as serious psychological harm if left unchecked.

*Taken in isolation certain behaviour might seem unremarkable. But in the particular circumstances and with repetition, they might take on a more sinister meaning.

Stalking is not legally defined, but can include behaviour such as:

  • Contacting/attempting to contact the victim
  • Publishing statements or material about the victim
  • Monitoring the victim (including online)
  • Loitering in a public or private place
  • Interfering with property
  • Watching or spying

This is a non-exhaustive list and other behaviours, which are not described above, may also be seen as stalking*

Who are Safer Places?

Safer Places is an independent charity which provides a comprehensive range of services to men, women and children affected by domestic abuse, sexual abuse and stalking who live in Hertfordshire and Essex.

The ISAC service

There will be 6 ISAC’s countywide, all ISACS will be qualified and most will also be Safe Lives IDVA/ISVA trained.

The service will provide the following to victims of Stalking:

  • Trauma informed support
  • Advice and advocacy
  • Risk assessment and safety planning
  • Court support (and police liaison)
  • One front door for Hertfordshire victims of DA stalking
  • Safer Places programmes
  • Legal support (family court)
  • Counselling

The service will also raise awareness of stalking and support professionals in other fields to respond appropriately

If you would like to refer a client or yourself please call 03301 025811 (24/7) or email referrals@saferplaces.co.uk

For any questions regarding the ISAC service please contact Gemma.Toynton@Saferplaces.co.uk or Jayne.Gentry@Saferplaces.co.uk


County Lines Conference: supporting children who are missing and criminally exploited

Stevenage, Hertfordshire - 19th March 2019

Missing People invites front-line staff and managers to our specialist conference that will be held in Stevenage. This event is especially relevant for anyone working with children who are being exploited or are at risk of being criminally exploited including: police, social care workers, criminal justice system and voluntary sector.  

This event is especially relevant for anyone working with children who are being exploited or are at risk of being criminally exploited including: police, social care workers, criminal justice system and voluntary sector. 

We know that young people who are criminally exploited to become drug mules are very vulnerable and are often forced to go missing for days or weeks at a time leaving them exposed to further abuse, violence and other risks while away. Left behind are families and carers who not only face the trauma of ambiguous loss but the worry that their loved-one (or they) will be seriously hurt or harmed.

The conferences will feature a mother who will share her story and lived experience of County Lines and child criminal exploitation. 

Lunch will be provided along with refreshments throughout the day.

There will also be an opportunity to network and learn from representatives from a variety of professional backgrounds. 

Location: Cineworld Cinema, Stevenage, SG1 2AN

Times: 09:30 – 16:00

Course price: £99

Sign up today by following the link below or visiting www.missingpeopletraining.eventbrite.com

Chat Health for Teens

ChatHealth is a web-based application for staff, designed to manage the clinical risks of using messaging with service users in frontline healthcare environments. A range of safety features help to ensure no message goes unanswered.

The system is designed to NHS information governance standards, providing a secure alternative to staff conducting messaging from mobile handsets. The transcribing interface promotes timely record keeping and auditability.

Service users can send SMS text messages from their own handsets in the usual way at the usual cost. Visit the Health for Teens website for more information.

Building a Resilient Community

Watford and Three Rivers Families First Partnership invite you to the following workshop session;

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

To help our communities to understand the latest information on:

  1. Childhood emotional attachment
  2. How we can support people to be resilient to the challenges of negative experiences

The film will be followed by a discussion with experts from

different professional backgrounds.

There will also be a market place with services available to support residents and their children.

To book your place visit my.threerivers.gov.uk,

then go to:Training: Building a Resilient Community Workshop

News from our partners!

We have created this page to link directly to some of our partners' newsletters which we feel may be of interest. Please visit the links below to read current news, events and updates from these services. You may also wish to subscribe to receive these direct. 

If your service has a newsletter which you would like to appear on this page please email: FamiliesFirst.Support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Learning & development

Outcome Star Training

Before workers can use the Outcomes Star with service users they must attend the one day introduction to Outcomes Star training.

This training session is being offered for Family Schools Workers and Intensive Family Support Team staff who have not accessed the training, and work with families on a one-to-one basis. The next training will be held on Wednesday 24th April 2019, 9:30-15:00 at the Hertfordshire Sports Village, Hatfield.

The training will cover:

Caring Dads Course

Please see below details of HACRO’s Caring Dads course due to start 21st March in Hemel, followed by re the current information for the rest of 17 week Caring Dads Programme for 2019/20.

Please use the latest Caring Dads referral form which includes a question about involving the dads in assessing their success in achieving outcomes set plus another asking your view on HACRO’s delivery of Caring Dads that prompted you to make a referral. Please note self-referrals can only be considered if a Section 7 CAFCASS report is available

This is all particularly important in gathering sufficient and relevant feedback on the Caring Dads programme for all funding grants and the new Herts TPF contract.

Hemel 2019

Course length - 17 weeks

Course time – Thursdays 7 to 9 pm

Course dates – start 21st March 2019

Course venue – Cedar House, The Chapel, Featherbed Lane, Apsley, Hemel Hempstead,

Herts, HP3 9DJ.

Broxbourne 2019

Start late Spring or Autumn 019

Watford 2019

Will start in the Summer 2019 term

Hatfield 2019

Possible start late Spring or Autumn 2019 - depending on funding

Please call 01727 854727 for further information on the Caring Dads programme and suitability of possible referrals.

HACRO’s Caring Dads office is only open on Mondays and Thursdays.



ADHD Foundation’s Parent and Carers Skills Building Programme

SPACE are pleased to announce that we are the only organisation licensed to deliver the ADHD Foundation’s Parent and Carers Skills Building Programme in Hertfordshire. This programme has been developed over a number of years and is well established in many parts of the Country.  

Parent/Carers will gain further understanding and knowledge of their young persons condition and build a toolbox of strategies to support family life.  This in turn will help to significantly improve outcomes for the young person in a variety of settings including education and leisure.

This can be delivered as a five week course or on a modular basis.  The modules consist of:-

  • Understanding and Managing ADHD
  • Praise and Criticism
  • Organisational Aids
  • Learning Styles
  • Diet and Nutrition 

We can also deliver this full package over an intensive two day period so this will maximise accessibility for all.

The optimum number of participants in each module is 15.

If you would like further information and/or costings for the above programme, please contact us at spaceherts@gmail.com.

Money Advice Unit Spring Summer Training

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

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

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

Mix Up Meal Times with Community Kitchen

FREE 8-week course for families to rediscover the fun in cooking.

After a highly successful first course last year, the Community Kitchen project is back to help families to get new ideas on cooking healthy, fun meals without breaking the bank and most importantly, cooking as a family.

Sessions are being held at Marriotts School on Saturday afternoons, 3:30pm-6pm starting on 16th March and are totally FREE, with spaces for 8 families per course.

As well as sharpening culinary skills, families will also be given some top tips on topics like sugar swaps, planning meals, getting in 5 a day and more.

Led by Stevenage FC Foundation, sessions will be delivered by Healthy Lifestyles Officer, Hannah Marsh, whose role is to help improve health and wellbeing in the community through physical activity and healthy living programmes.

Hannah said “The Community Kitchen is such an exciting project for the Foundation. Getting people thinking about ways in which they can make subtle tweaks to their time in the kitchen and enjoy cooking as a family is something we feel can have a big impact in the town. This isn’t a weight loss or physical exercise programme, just simply about coming together as a family and enjoying an activity that we all do every day.

“There’s a fantastic social element to it as well, getting families socialising with other families whilst taking part in a fun and friendly activity. The support we’ve had so far from the partners of the programme has been phenomenal and unprecedented for a new project of ours. We’ve received funding from Public Health, SBC and individual councillors as well as great support from Co-Op and North Herts College with creating the content. We’re really excited to get started”.

Stevenage Borough Council’s Sport and Wellbeing Manager, Joe Capon explains “The Community Kitchen is a great local project. It’s not just about helping families to eat well and improve their cooking skills. It’s also about bringing the social aspect of meal times into family life, so families can reconnect over a nutritious meal and spending quality time cooking it together.

“It’s also educational for the children as they can get stuck into the food preparation and increase their knowledge and interest in where ingredients come from and how they go together. With so many demands on family life now it’s sometimes hard to find the time to cook fresh all of the time, but with the right know how and a small budget, families can have a healthy meal on the table in 20-30 minutes.”

As well as support from organisations across the county, the project is part funded by Public Health Hertfordshire and has received support locally from Stevenage Borough Councillors Sarah Mead, Liz Harrington, James Fraser, John Gardener, John Mead, Elaine Connelly, Joan Lloyd, Jeannette Thomas, Ralph Raynor, Graham Lawrence, Sara-Jane Potter, Simon Speller and Richard Henry.

For more information and to get your family’s place on the course please visit www.stevenagefcfoundation.com/communitykitchen or contact Hannah at the Foundation via email hannahm@stevenagefc.com or call 01438 223223 (Option 6).


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

Difference we're making

IFST Team support Nature Themed Session

This February half term, the newly opened Leavesden HIVE at Leavesden Country Park ran a nature themed session with Watford and Three Rivers Intensive Family Support Team (IFST).   The session was led by the Park Ranger and Play Development Officer at Three Rivers District Council, with support from IFST staff.  The children took time away to explore their inner nature side and learn about life cycles, identifying insects, and food chains. The session also included a scavenger hunt, where the children explored the extensive grounds of Leavesden Country Park to identify plants, trees, insects and much more.

To finish off the session in style, the Play Rangers surprised the children with a camp fire cooking activity in the woodlands. The children were taught how to make a fire together in a safe and supervised environment, and cook their own lunch which included a toasted marshmallow treat at the end!  All of the children thoroughly enjoyed the day and are hoping to be invited back in the Easter holidays.

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life