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 2020 Families First Awards! These awards are 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 6th May at the South Hill Centre in Hemel Hempstead 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:-
Please note: The deadline to make your nominations is Friday 3rd April.
NOTICE: Temporary Change in Family Registrations for FFA Timescales
We are currently experiencing reduced staffing on the Families First Helpdesk team, which is causing some delay in the family registrations for Families First Assessments & Short Term work being processed. We are currently working to process all forms that have been completed correctly within 4 working days.
Please note any forms that do not have all the correct information on them, will cause further delay.
We anticipate this to be a temporary measure and apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause in the meantime.
Specialist Adolescent Service Hertfordshire
From 01 April 2020 Targeted Youth Support (TYS) will become the Specialist Adolescent Service Hertfordshire (SASH).
The service is transforming the way in which it works in order to provide effective and meaningful support to:
- Young people aged 11 to 17 in families at risk of breakdown or on the edge of care.
- Young people who go missing from home or those that are at risk of, or experiencing, child exploitation, including gangs and county lines.
- Young people in the Youth Justice system to prevent offending and re-offending; and to support victims of youth crime and their communities.
- Young people aged 16 to 17 years old who are homeless.
How will we be working?
SASH will be underpinned by a practice model incorporating the below core frameworks.
We will deliver flexible and responsive support packages to young people and families. The intensity of support will support will match the level of need whilst having the flexibility to respond to unexpected issues as they arise at all times of the week, this will include early mornings, evenings and possibly weekends, dependent on the needs of the family.
Introduction of a NEW Countywide Team
As part of these changes the service is currently recruiting to a new team called Central SASH. This team will work countywide alongside SASH Area Teams to deliver intensive support to the highest risk cases – those at risk of serious harm or subject to child exploitation, at risk of homelessness, Tier 4 returns home and escalating risk of family breakdown.
Keep an eye out for a Strategic Safeguarding Adolescent Group (SSAG) event where you will find out more about what is going on within adolescent services and related workstreams – June 2020, exact date TBC.
 Sub-group of Hertfordshire’s Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP)
Recruiting foster carers for children in Hertfordshire
The Hertfordshire County Council Fostering Team is working on a project to recruit more foster carers for children in Hertfordshire. We are currently in a desperate situation. We have 950 children in Hertfordshire in foster care and are losing more foster carers than gaining each year. This pilot project is focusing on organisations around the Hemel Hempstead and St Albans areas.
We know from research that actually speaking to people in the community about becoming a foster carer and letting them hear from people who are foster carers themselves, has much greater success in recruiting people. We can help to allay any fears and bust myths about fostering which will hopefully result in more people taking the next step and applying to become a foster carer.
We have a lot of people from voluntary and charitable organisations that are approved foster carers including those coming up to retirement age or working part-time. They are able to work alongside their fostering responsibilities with great success. Almost anyone can apply to be a foster carer, and we positively welcome foster carers from all parts of the community so we can find the best match for every child.
With this in mind, we would love the chance to come and talk to your staff about fostering and what it entails. We can give a small talk or just have an informal chat (10 minutes) – whatever suits your organisation. We are hoping to visit local groups and schools throughout May and June so please could you let me know when would be most convenient for you.
Throughout March a list of groups to visit is being complied so would appreciate it if you could contact us within the next couple of weeks i.e. by Friday 20 March.
If us attending one of your staff meetings is not convenient, would you be happy to display one of our fostering posters in your communal area / staff room?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or to arrange a date for us to visit you.
Do you know parents who are in conflict?
Do you know parents who are in conflict?
Children can be negatively affected where conflict between their parents is frequent, intense and poorly resolved. Evidence shows that parental conflict can have a negative impact mental health, problems at school, sleep difficulties and poorer health, and 37% of cases being supported by children and family services in Hertfordshire are estimated to involve parental conflict. See some key statistics about parental conflict in Hertfordshire here.
But we can make a difference. Where parents are supported to improve their relationship, they are often able to make positive changes that benefit their children. This is regardless of whether the parents are together or separated.
You can help parents by:
- Talking to them about their relationships. Make sure they are aware that conflict can impact on their children and that there is help available. There is a toolkit and training to help you with these conversations at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/betterrelationships
- Signposting them to self-help. This Hertfordshire webpage has information for parents about relationships, and where to go for local and online help: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/parentrelationships
- Referring them to specialist support if they need it. Any professional or volunteer working with a family in Hertfordshire can refer parents to the Parenting Together Programme. This provides free evidence-based parental conflict support to parents, whether they are together or separated. To find out more, go to:
Relationships Matter in Hertfordshire.
SENDiass New Website
The new SENDIASS website is now live. SENDiass are Special Educational Needs Information Advice and Support Service, providing free, confidential and impartial advice:-
- To ensure that children, young people (CYP) and their parents have access to timely, accurate and impartial information advice and support.
- To make information is available to CYP aged 0-25 who have special educational needs and/or disability and parents, which enables them to take part in decisions.
- To empower families to secure good working relationships with all professionals involved, ensuring that their views are heard and listened to
Announcing Herts Ability
We are delighted to announce that, from 14th February 2020, Hertfordshire Action on Disability (HAD) will be changing its name to Herts Ability.
We have been carefully considering whether a change of name is necessary, to more accurately reflect our core values and services. Following discussions with our customers, we recognise that people from all walks of life rightly emphasise ability not disability. Our focus is on assisting and supporting people to be as independent as possible, and we believe Herts Ability is a better reflection of what we do.
We will remain a charity, and continue to be a local centre of excellence and knowledge to older people and those with disabilities in Hertfordshire and the surrounding area.
We have no plans to change our services at present (including the provision of equipment and occupational therapy), but we are always thinking of better ways of serving our community. We remain an accredited member of Driving Mobility - enabling us to provide driving, scooter and passenger assessments.
Apart from our name change and new logo, our contact details will also be changing. Our new website address will be hertsability.org.uk, and our email addresses will end @hertsability.org.uk (instead of @hadnet.org.uk). Our existing HAD website page and email addresses will continue to redirect you to us, while our office addresses and telephone numbers remain unaffected.
Should you have any queries following our name change, please get in touch with us through your usual contacts.
Helping our clients live independent lives is the overriding aim of our charity and it will always be central to our identity and objectives. Our commitment to these core values - which place clients at the centre of everything we do - will continue.
Libraries supporting Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing
Libraries will launch the Reading Well for Children book collection in the week 3-9 February. These books provide helpful reading to support children’s mental health and wellbeing, joining the other collections already on the shelves: Reading Well for Mental Health, Reading Well for Young People (Shelf Help), Reading Well for Dementia and Reading Well for Long Term Conditions.
The books have been chosen and endorsed by leading health professionals and are targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (age 7-11), with a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers and encourage children to read together with their carers.
Shockingly, 12.8% of 5-19 year olds have had a mental health condition. 34% of parents of children aged 4-11 worry about their child’s mental health and 60% of children aged 8-11 say they regularly feel stressed, sad or worried.
Although 39% of 8-11s say they find it difficult to talk about their emotions, 90% of parents agree that reading together is a useful tool to help open up conversations.
The 33 titles in the collection cover subjects such as maintaining good mental health, understanding and managing feelings, dealing with worries, dealing with tough times personally and navigating the world around you, including at school, online and in the news.
Visit your Library on or after 3 February to find out more about the Reading Well for Children book collection and how it can support parents and children.
For the full booklist, visit www.reading-well.org.uk
Conference on tackling youth violence
KIP Education CIC & SOLVE: CYVC are proud to partner for this dynamic conference tailored for professionals working with young people
This one-day conference brings together leading academics & inspirational teachers to ensure professionals are better equipped to tackle youth violence, CCE (countylines) & young people’s mental health.
The conference is being held at the Fielder Centre on 7th May please visit https://www.kipeducation.com/gangconference for more information.
Caring Dads Course - NEWS
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
Please note the next 17 week Caring Dads course will be in Waltham Cross as follows:
Thursday evenings 7 to 9 pm on from 12th March to 2nd July February 2020 inclusive (although this may be extended if a session is cancelled due to bank holidays)
The venue is in Pavilions Shopping Centre High Street Waltham Cross
Caring Dads referral form can be found here
Please call 01727 854727 and ask for Joanna Emerson if you wish to discuss the Caring Dads programme and suitability of possible referrals .
Introducing the new grants page on portal
Our Families First Partnership Groups have produced a list of National and Local grant providers. This will hopefully prove a useful resource for the whole partnership whilst working with families. Please visit the providers websites for up-to-date information and criteria.
As this list relies on all our partners knowledge and awareness of grants and funding opportunities, please email should you wish to add a provider or remove/update any of the listings.
Learning & development
HSCP Learning Hub
The HSCP Learning Hub is an important two-way feedback loop between front line practitioners and the Strategic Safeguarding Partnership/Board, ensuring learning on priority local issues is shared and acted on at all levels in a timely way.
Handy Hints for EHM
Always complete forms for registering as a new user for EHM or for registering a family for an FFA or Short-Term Work directly from the Families First Portal. These forms are regularly updated, and older forms may not include all the information we require to be able to complete registration. Families First Portal
There are several How to Guides on the Families First Portal that will guide you through every task you need to complete when you are the keyworker for an open Families First Episode. The guides are step by step and include screen shots to help you to check you are in the correct pathways within EHM. They are password protected and you will need to enter Hertfordshire when you want to access them. They can be found on the Families First Portal
In the documents within Families First Assessment and Early Help Module section. These are regularly updated as the system is upgraded so please only use the latest versions.
- Section B of Families First Assessment
Please remember that this part of the assessment is needs led, therefore you only answer yes to one of the sections if there is an identified need. There is room for you to record strengths or protective factors further on in the assessment within the outcomes section.
- Toggling within the Families First Assessment
It is essential that the “yes” “no” questions within section B of the Families First Assessment are toggled before you answer yes or no to any needs. This is because data is gathered from this area and we need to be clear that we are reporting the correct number of people with these level of needs within the correct age groups in Hertfordshire.
- If you have identified that a young person within the family is a young carer then you would need to toggle first, separate the young person before answering yes to them and giving detail of their caring role. You would answer No to remaining family members
- If you have identified that one of the parents within the family has some concerns around drug or alcohol misuse then you would need to toggle first, separate the parent before answering yes to that parent and giving details of the concerns. You would answer No to remaining family members.
A how to guide for Toggling are available on the Families First Portal.
When you want to add another practitioner to the Families First Episode as a TAF member or so that you can transfer the episode to them, you will need to update the consent statement. There is a How to Guide - Adding a TAF member to an open Families First Episode to guide through this process step by step.
At times you may see a General Note Alert appear in your work tray for a family that you are keyworker for. This will have been generated by our Customer Service Centre, Triage team or Families First Coordinators where a new concern has been raised by someone regarding a family you are working with/open FFA or short-term work. These teams record their work within general notes and the EHM system will automatically notify the keyworker by default. If you are concerns about an alert, please contact your local Families First Coordinator.
Keyworkers that are not a Hertfordshire County Council employee will not be expected to act upon this alert unless they are contacted directly via a telephone call or email from their local Families First Coordinators.
We would recommend that you remove these alerts from you work tray by clicking on the task and then clicking on alert completed.
Please note that once you close or transfer a Families First Episode these alerts will remain in your work tray until you complete them. You MUST complete alerts and you MUST NOT access the case once you have closed or transferred it.
A how to guide for Managing Your Work tray are available on the Families First Portal .
- Families First Practice Forums
Your Senior Families First Coordinators facilitate local Families First Practice Forums in every district every half term. These are free to attend and are for keyworkers, TAF members and local Practitioners supporting TAF through Families First Assessments, Graded Care Profile or Short-term work. Dates, venues and how to book a place can be found here Families First Practice Forums.
If you experience any difficulties with logging into EHM, please can you contact the Families First Helpdesk on 01438 737575 and report this immediately. If they are unable to help you to log- in, they will be able to report it to SERCO who will investigate.
The Families First Helpdesk can offer telephone support with all EHM queries relating to Families First Assessments or Short-Term Work. Please call 01438 737575. Open hours are Monday – Friday 91m – 5pm and Friday 9am – 4.30pm.
- Advice on concerns regarding a child/family, including open Families First Episodes
If you have any concerns about a child/family, including where there is an open Families First Assessment, you can discuss these concerns with your Senior Families First Coordinator who will be able to advise you about the correct next steps to take. This could include any changes in the family’s circumstances, escalation of needs, complex families, non-engagement, who to invite to a TAF, how to get our targeted and intensive teams involved etc.
Please contact your Senior or Families First Coordinator directly, do not call the Customer Service Centre with these concerns as this will cause a delay in the response to you.
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:
- Choose your shadowing opportunity from this list (on the Families First Portal)
- Simply send an email to FamiliesFirst.Shadowing@hertfordshire.gov.uk copying in your manager to indicate their support of your application
- Get shadowing!
Could your service host shadowing?
If you would like to offer a shadowing opportunity within your organisation:
- Nominate a contact in your team
- Email Shadowing@hertfordshire.gov.uk and we will be in touch.
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
Local area news
Broxbourne: Families Learning about Self Harm
The HABS Family Support Team will be running this accredited 10-week FLASH parenting programme (Families learning about self-harm) at Wormley School Community Room, in Broxbourne, starting on the 21st from 7pm-9pm.
The course is for parents, carers and any family member or friend involved in the care and support of a young person aged 11-19 who is self-harming. This course is currently offered free of charge to families within the HABS Partnership, and subsidised for parents outside the Partnership to keep the cost down for all families.
The price to attend the 10-week course is currently only £50 per person - however, there are places available for referred families without the means to pay, so do please contact for more details.
This course is the first to be run in Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire and we are expecting to be full very quickly, so if you are working with or know of a family who would benefit from attending then do please pass on the information.
Who is it for?
A group for parent and carers of young people aged 11-18 years’ old who are exhibiting self-harming behaviour. Any adult involved with the child can attend the group, including step parents, grandparents and childminders. We welcome parents on their own or with their partners. FLASH is delivered by Therapeutic Coaches and Counsellors.
What does the course cover?
FLASH allows parents the opportunity to discuss their concerns with people who understand and learn skills to manage these concerns within the home. It will include:
Exploring what self-harm is and what the risks are
Listening and self-esteem enabling skills
Managing self-harm within the family environment
How self-harm impacts on parenting
Ways to manage under stressful circumstances
Coping strategies for parents and carers
Please download the leaflet for more information
St Albans - Parenting Courses
Please promote these targeted parenting courses to families you are working with in the St Albans area.
Download the full programme here
Supporting Young Parents and Parents to be
YC Hertfordshire provides targeted youth work projects and programmes. One of the projects we are delivering this term is Plus One, our project for young parents and parents to be. Please find attached information about this which is for all young parents.
We are keen to ensure our services are accessed by as many young people as possible and welcome referrals for this project; young people can also self-refer. Please use the following link to refer on-line or download the referral form
Further details on the work of YC Hertfordshire can be found here https://www.ychertfordshire.org/
Details of current programmes:-
- North Herts and Stevenage and is being delivered from Letchworth Young People’s Centre on Thursdays, 9.30am-12.30pm. Assistance with transport may be possible.
- The project runs every Thursday from 11am-2pm located in the Hemel Hempstead’s Young people’s Centre.
North Herts: Exploring the causes of Anxiety in Children and Young People
Exploring causes of anxiety in children and young people and an opportunity to discuss effective management.
This forum is designed to give parent/carers the opportunity to explore and discuss the issues around anxiety in children and young people.
The aim of the session is to help develop a better understanding of feelings and the ways in which we can support children to develop confidence and resilience.
This training will be led by Harri Nicholas (Art Therapist) and Charlotte Wilmer-Barbrook (Dramatherapist) from NESSie CIC
DATE & VENUE
Date: Wednesday 25th March
Venue: The Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living, Hitchin Road, Letchworth, Hertfordshire SG6 3NA
Room: Garden Room
Cost : £10
TO BOOK A PLACE PLEASE VISIT: www.letchworthcentre.org/classes/
OR PHONE: 01462 678 804
More information can be found here.
Download the poster here
Broxbourne: CHEXS EASTER EGG HUNT
Great Day for all the family at our Easter Egg Hunt at Cedar Park
Come along and join in the fun we have lots of activities including the Egg Hunt, Bouncy castles and Face painting, Crafts stall, Raffle and lots more.
We look forward to seeing you there
If you need any information about the day or would like to have a stall at the event please contact CHEXS on email@example.com
Celebrating 100 years of Welwyn Garden City
This year we are celebrating 100 years of Welwyn Garden City and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council in partnership with GLL/Better Leisure and the Welwyn Garden City Centenary Foundation have organised a Dragon Boat Racing Festival to conclude the centenary festival's Week of Sport.
The event will take place on Sunday 5 July at Stanborough Lakes, and is open to local community groups and businesses racing in teams of up to 11 people, with each boat taking part in at least three races during the day. Each race is timed and after all the heats have taken place, the six fastest boats are entered into a semi-final and then onto a final.
The event will run all day with registration from 9am. Refreshments will be provided to purchase, competitors and spectators are also welcome to bring refreshments if they wish.
The dragon boats, all equipment and qualified helms are provided by the organisers, please note competitors must be 16 years or over.
The cost for a community group to enter a team is £110 and I have attached the entry form which provides further information.
If your organisation is interested in taking part or you have any questions please get in contact with me and I’ll be happy to assist.
More information can be found here
WHBC Sports & Activities
For those working with families and young people we thought it would be useful to share with you some sport projects/activities which have been set up with Welwyn Hatfield BC in partnership with various organisations and will begin in the new year.
Ridgeway Academy School (WGC) - Thursday 7-8pm Starting 9 January (term time) until Easter
Free (ages 11-16 mixed)
Delivered by A-Z Basketball. Develop your skills and technique whilst having fun. No experience required. Spaces are limited – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ridgeway Academy School (WGC) - Thursday 7-8pm Starting 9 January (term time) until Easter
Free (ages 11-16 mixed)
Delivered by Stevenage Football Foundation. No experience required, turn up and play, develop your skills and techniques and play matches
Girls Kicks Session (football)
Ridgeway Academy (attimore hall) - Fridays 7-8pm
Free (8 - 19 Girls)
Delivered by Stevenage FF, no experience required, turn up and play, develop your skills and techniques and play matches
Girls Dance project
United Reform Church (WGC) -
Fridays 6.30 - 7.30 Starting 17th January to 14th February then 28th February to 3rd April
£1 (11-16 Girls)
Delivered by FK Dance academy. Hip hop and street dance. No experience required, just turn up.
Campus West (term 1) Roller city - Term 1 (beginners) staring 9th January - 13th February 4.30-5.30 must book online
£54 for 6 week course (ages 5+ mixed)
Delivered by ABC Skateboarding Term 1 (Beginner skaters) for skaters wanting to learn how to skateboard for the first time or improve quicker. All equipment is provided.
Book online www.abcskateboarding.co.uk
Term 2 – beginners and improvers – more info to follow in new year
Broxbourne: YC Hertfordshire - projects and programmes for young people
View details the projects, programmes and opportunities available to young people through YC Hertfordshire for this Autumn.
You can also find information on the Healthy Relationships Programme now open for referrals with delivery starting this month.
Also the Supporting You Emotional Wellbeing Programme is now open for referrals with delivery starting this month.
Also you can find out more about the 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
Download a copy of the leaflet below:-
Agencies, families or young people can self-refer via the YC Hertfordshire website
Help with energy costs and caring responsibilities from Citizens Advice St Albans
Citizens Advice St Albans District provides advice and support to residents of St Albans and the wider district including Harpenden, Redbourn, Wheathampstead and London Colney. We want to help people who are being significantly disadvantaged by the cost of their energy. You can refer anyone who you think could do with our energy advice. We are keen to help vulnerable consumers who may fit some of the following criteria:
- Low income
- Pensionable age
- Long-term health condition
- Family with child dependants
Our specialist advisers help people get the best deal on their energy, deal with fuel debt, identify eligibility for thermal efficiency measures in the home and other benefits, and to access priority services for vulnerable consumers. You can refer people for one to one advice at our office in St Albans, or we are available to give talks and advice to groups. Topics covered are switching supplier, tariff or payment method, getting financial support and how to be more energy efficient in the home. We can also refer on to other advice areas such as debt and benefits.
For more information, or to refer a service user, please contact email@example.com or phone 01727 811118 and leave your contact details for a call back.
In parallel with our Energy projects, we are reaching out to carers of older people. This may be relevant in some of the families that you support. We provide one to one advice on matters such as applying for benefits (attendance allowance, carer’s allowance, blue badges and bus passes), powers of attorney, care home fees, equipment and home care, and household bills and maximising income.
To find out more, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01727 811118 and leave your contact details for a call back.
For general information about Citizens Advice St Albans and our opening times, see our website www.castad.org.uk . You can also find useful information for supporting service users on the Citizens Advice website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk