Families First News

The latest news

Supporting Families Practice Team Update

Supporting Families Practice Team – Formerly Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team

As you may already be aware, we have had a team name change from the Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team to the Supporting Families Practice Team. We are still the same team, providing Families First Helpdesk support, delivering EHM system, Key worker and TAF Member training, practice support, guidance and advice, stakeholder engagement, contributing to the Consultation Hub, quality assurance for external partners and facilitation of Practice Forum. We will continue to support you with all things FFA and EHM related as required.

Until recently, we delivered our service in a double district delivery model with a Senior Families First Coordinator and a Families First Coordinator covering each double district. We have changed our service delivery model to quadrants to align with the wider Family Support and Services for Young People Service structures as of 01 November 2021. This means we now work in four Quadrants with a Senior and Families First Coordinator covering each Quadrant as set out below:

Broxbourne, East Herts and Welwyn/Hatfield Quadrant

  • Senior Families First Coordinator – Mandi Tsamados

Dacorum & St Albans Quadrant

  • Senior Families First Coordinator – Helen Whyman

Stevenage & North Herts Quadrant

  • Senior Families First Coordinator – Holly Turl

Watford, Three Rivers & Hertsmere Quadrant

  • Senior Families First Coordinator – Anna Wood

Whilst this will not change the ways of working for many, some districts will notice a change in their  Senior Families First Coordinators and Families First Coordinators, but the level of support remains the same across all districts.  

In addition to this, we have a few new staff who have joined the team or changed roles within the team. We have updated the Seniors and Families First Coordinators details for your area which can be found in Speak to someone on the Families First Portal.

We have also updated our Team Offer, clearly evidencing our support offer available to practitioners and partners following a change to the way that we have been working. We will continue to offer 1:1 support virtually and face to face as well as bespoke training sessions to meet any need that you may have when undertaking Families First Assessments or using the EHM System.

We have undertaken an extensive review of how we deliver our training in light of feedback received  and streamlined all training with a focused FFA and EHM training sessions with a simple booking system. You will find all details of our training sessions in the Training and learning (Families First) area of the Families First Portal.

Finally, we have updated the Early Help – information for professionals and partners  to ensure that you have access to all of the above information and more, so please do remember to visit the Portal for all of your Families First needs. It continues to be an expanding and ever evolving source of information for all things Early Help and is an invaluable resource to all families and Practitioners across Hertfordshire.

Please contact your local Senior or Families First Coordinator in the first place and for any other issues regarding the work of the team please contact Serena Yearwood – Team Manager.



Building Life Chances

Do you deliver a service to help disadvantaged families in Hertfordshire?

If so, we’d like to hear from you. Please spare 5-10 minutes to complete this short survey to help us understand more about the services that you provide.

The information you provide will be key in shaping our Building Life Chances programme, a joint initiative between Children’s Services, Adult Care Services and Public Health to support families in or at risk of disadvantage.

Please complete this survey by Friday 19th November 2021

Hertfordshire children set to have a HAPpy winter!

The winter holidays are looking brighter for disadvantaged children and young people in Hertfordshire thanks to an exciting partnership.

Hertfordshire County Council, Herts Sports Partnership and Hertfordshire Community Foundation will once again join forces to deliver healthy food alongside sport and physical activity, under the name HAPpy: Hertfordshire’s Holiday Activity Programme.

The programme is open to children and young people aged 5-16, with those in receipt of benefits-related free school meals eligible for free. The aim is to help close the holiday experience gap that some disadvantaged families may face over this period.

Eligible families can get their unique HAPpy booking code from their child’s school from 22nd November.

Booking online is open from 6th December through the link below:


If you or your team works closely with vulnerable children/families and can help with promotion of the programme, please email us: Happy@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Once we know your service can support this, we will then send out the relevant information to you to help promote the programme to your families.

We want to make sure every child who is eligible is provided with the opportunity to attend.



Young People's Survey 2021

The HCC Services for Young People (SfYP), Young People's Survey 2021 is now available for young people to share their views.  The survey is an opportunity for young people aged 11-17, and up to the age of 25 for those with special educational needs to have their voices heard and follows on from our previous countywide survey conducted in 2019. 

Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families County Councillor Teresa Heritage said:

“We know that young people have been heavily impacted by the Covid19 pandemic. We want to hear from young people themselves about their concerns so that we are able to support them in future. Hearing young people’s views will help us to plan for the year ahead.”

Young people have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and this survey will help determine if the concerns and priorities for young people have changed since the start of 2019; and further inform and develop our own service priorities as well as the priorities developed with our partners through the Youth Strategy Partnership Group.

Both surveys are open until the 17th December 2021 and can be accessed through the links below:

Posters can be downloaded here:-

This year’s Just Talk Campaign Week is coming 15-21 November!

Just Talk is Hertfordshire’s positive mental health campaign, made up of 35+ partner organisations, which encourages Herts’ young people to be open and look after their emotional wellbeing. For this year’s campaign week, Just Talk is focusing on the importance of kindness – how we can all benefit from being a little kinder to ourselves, and each other.

Children, parents/carers and professionals who work with young people are invited to get involved and promote positive mental health in Herts.

A range of informative free webinars will be available throughout the week, along with a host of great social media content from our partners.

Make sure you are following @JustTalkHerts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date.

See the full webinar schedule, as well as a range of FREE resources, videos and information here: Just Talk Week 2021


If you have any questions, drop us an email at JustTalk@hertfordshire.gov.uk

HfL launches fully-funded Sexual Abuse toolkit

Herts for Learning (HfL), the UK’s largest schools-owned company, has launched a free Sexual Abuse toolkit, which is aimed at schools and is available to all staff, students and governors.  It has been developed by the ‘Hertfordshire Everyone’s Invited Working Group’, which was set up in May 2021, at the request of Hertfordshire County Council and the Hertfordshire Headteacher forums. It was formed in response to the murder of Sarah Everard, the subsequent Everyone’s Invited movement and the report published in May 2021 by Ofsted into Sexual Abuse in Schools.

The toolkit is designed to assist schools in facilitating discussion about healthy and abusive relationships, creating a safe and respectful culture for all, educating young people to prevent harassment and abuse and supporting victims of sexual abuse. It provides age appropriate guidance and support for school leaders and staff around preventing harassment, violence and abuse in young people’s relationships. It includes resources and materials to support with the design of an impactful RSE curriculum and links to organisations, agencies and training providers.

Commenting on the launch of the toolkit, Rachel Macfarlane, Director of Education Services at Herts for Learning said, “In Hertfordshire, we are aware that children can experience sexual harassment and abuse anywhere, including in schools. We recognise the significance of this. It is the duty of leaders and teachers to ensure that pupils across all key stages are equipped with the knowledge, skills and understanding that will build their capacity to have a moral, respectful and positive approach to relationship-building, to be able to recognise risk and adopt safeguarding behaviours for themselves and others and to understand how the law applies to behaviours and/or experiences.”

Macfarlane continues, “We are optimistic that the launch of the Sexual Abuse toolkit will play a crucial role in supporting school leaders to be prepared to demonstrate to a range of audiences (including Ofsted) the impact of their polices, practice and curriculum in relation to relationships, harassment, violence and abuse.”

The Sexual Abuse toolkit contains guidance and resources to support the following:

  • Primary teaching resources
  • Secondary teaching resources
  • Everyone's Invited - immediate steps for named schools
  • Key principles for teaching and learning about anti-abuse
  • Additional reading for staff
  • Self-assessment and traffic light tools
  • Support for young people - Hertfordshire
  • Support for young people - National
  • Parent and carer support
  • Advice and resources for Governors
  • SEND
  • Training
  • What to do if you are concerned about a child

The Toolkit is FREE to access and users are not required to subscribe, log in or give any details.

Ensure your service is listed!

Our Families First Portal links directly to the Hertfordshire directory and if your service provides early help support to families then you will need to have a listing on the directory.

Our Web Team have recently undertaken an overhaul of the listings to ensure they are all current and up-to-date, and many were removed that had not been active for some time. So we would request that you take a moment to check your service is listed by searching at the link below and if you find you do not have a listing please add your service today!

Families | Hertfordshire MarketPlace

Register to add a listing | Hertfordshire MarketPlace

Update your listing | Hertfordshire MarketPlace

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