Families First News

Front page - Welcome

Welcome to our latest newsletter

Dear partners and colleagues,

In this edition of Families First News we are pleased to bring you an update from our Supporting Families Practice Team (Formerly Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team), along with another chance to complete the Building Life Chances programme survey which closes on 19th November and a link to this year's Young People's survey for you to share with 11-17 year olds, and much more!

We also thought we would share a short animation that we have put together which shows the timeline of support available to families in Hertfordshire throughout a child's development. From antenatal classes through to careers advice and links to the Families First Portal for further support. We are currently sharing this on our social media pages and it will soon appear on our Families First Portal.

As always don't forget to take a look at our professionals area on the Families First portal where you will find links to training, including EHM along with our grants page, and Workforce Development pages etc. 

We hope you enjoy this edition of Families First News and please 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 included in future editions by emailing familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Happy reading!

Kind regards 
The Development Team

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

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

Learning & development

HSCP Learning & Development Programme

We use this regular page to give you some quick links through to the HSCP learning programmes:-

You can view the latest HSCP/HSAB Autumn 2021 Newsletter is now available on here – Newsletter Autumn 2021

Latest Training programme can be viewed here:- /assets/1/ld_programme_oct_2021_final.pptx

Following the virtual launch of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership’s Neglect Strategy and Joint Campaign with the NSPCC, please see below a link to the Neglect Hub on the HSCP website. The resources available are as follows:

  • Neglect Strategy 2021-24
  • Practice Guidance
  • Neglect Strategy Toolkit
  • Link to the Graded Care Profile tool
  • The presentations from the launch by Dez Holmes, NSPCC and Operations Director, Matt Ansell
  • Posters

Neglect Hub Edge Browser

Neglect Hub Explore Browser

Year of Learning

Information for professionals and volunteers | Hertfordshire County Council

Nov 2021 - Neglect

Sept 2021 - Child Sexual Abuse

June 2021 : Harmful Sexual Behaviours 7 minute briefing

May 2021: Female Genital Mutilation 7 minute briefing

Forthcoming Step 2 Skills Courses

The below forthcoming courses may be of interest to Hertfordshire parents. Please pass on where appropriate.

  • Functional Skills English qualification: Step2Skills has got an Entry Level 3/Level 1 #FunctionalSkills #morning #course starting in early December in #Stevenage, ending in June. Not sure if you're working at this level? Apply today and we'll arrange for you to complete an #online assessment to check this is right for you. Apply: www.step2skills.org.uk/englishandmaths 

  • Become a Midday Supervisor – Our popular employability course is back and with an online format, it’s perfect for parents finishing the school run and returning home ready for the 10am start. The course can be booked online at www.step2skill.org.uk/courses
  • Business & Administration Level 1 Award qualification: Step2Skills has got a #blended #Business & #Administration Level 1 award #course starting in November. With one lesson #online and one held face-to-face, if you're a #Hertfordshire resident and want to add #skills to your #CV, this is for you. Book at www.step2skills.org.uk/courses (Eligibility criteria applies, please check our website for full details) 

  • Building Better Opportunities: As ever, our employment support programme is ready and waiting to accept unemployed Hertfordshire residents who would like some support in getting back to work. Funded jointly by The National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund, this programme is perfect for anyone who would benefit from some mentor support to help them break through their barriers to work.  For more information and to apply, visit www.step2skills.org.uk/BBO 

Workforce development

The vision for Families First training and development is to create a skilled, confident and resilient multi-agency workforce that supports whole family working.

To support this, we have brought together training courses that are available to practitioners across Hertfordshire. We aim to add new resources to this page when available and we have recently added some resources on Trauma Informed practice. 

Please take a look at the page, bookmark and share with teams, where appropriate.

Workforce development (hertfordshire.gov.uk)

Mind in Mid Herts courses

Living Well Courses

Our ‘Living Well’ courses have been designed to support people make positive changes in their lives. Informed by psychological theories these guided self-help courses and workshops support you to understand your own experience and build new strategies to live a healthy life.

These online courses and workshops will be delivered via Zoom by an experienced Mind in Mid Herts trainer; giving you all the benefits of face-to-face support from your own homes.

You can book online at and take a look at all the courses and workshops that we are offering.

Mental Health Peer Supporter Open Courses

We are also offering Mental Health Peer Supporter Training Open Course online. This four week course certifies you to be a mental health peer supporter; supporting you to recognise the signs of mental distress and know how to respond appropriately.

By the end of this training delegates will have:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
  • The ability to spot the signs of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress
  • Understanding the roles, responsibilities and boundaries of managing mental health in the workplace.
  • An understanding of the knowledge, qualities and skills needed to support someone in distress.
  • Know how to support their own wellbeing
  • Knowledge of national and local signposting options.
  • Everyone who completes the course will get a certificate and a supplementary manual to support their learning.

To book your place on this course, you can do this online here.

If you have any enquiries please do not hesitate to contact training@mindinmidherts.org.uk.

Spot the Signs & Emotional Wellbeing - training for professionals

Spot the Signs & Emotional Wellbeing is a fully-funded programme offering training and workshops to children and young people (CYP), CYP’s parents/carers and professionals working with CYP.

The programme provides psychoeducation, emotional resilience and signposting support to empower young people and the adults around them to feel confident enough to manage their mental and emotional health.

All sessions can be delivered in-person or online upon your request.

You can find more information about the training available.

Suicide awareness and prevention accredited course

Hertfordshire County Council have commissioned Harmless to deliver a an Suicide awareness and prevention accredited course.

Please note: you must be working in/supporting people who reside in Hertfordshire county to qualify for a funded place on this course.

The training package is an intermediate level for those who have already received basic/introductory suicide prevention training (or mental health training with a suicide prevention element). If you have not completed an introductory or basic level course do note Hertfordshire commission a range of courses, you can attend.

To express your interest in the Suicide Intervention Half day training please complete our online booking form via Eventbrite by using the following links. Or for more information or advice on the courses being delivered please speak to a member of the Let’s Talk Training team: training@harmless.org.uk

15/11/2021 AM


25/11/2021 AM


29/11/2021 AM


01/12/2021 PM




10/12/2021 AM




Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

You may be interested to view our Families First Performance Data report for the period October 2020 - September 2021.

The report looks at Families First Assessments that took place within the period and highlights the presenting needs and outcomes broken down by district along with information about other support for families.


Local area news

East Herts & Broxbourne

Update from Broxbourne early help services:-

The HABS Family Support Team provides a high-quality service for children, young people and their families in Wormley, Broxbourne, Turnford, Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Watford.  We are an organisation that works with school-aged children to address social and health issues that are barriers to learning; we play a significant role in the lives of many young people and their families. 

We provide support for children and families at risk of breakdown, offering practical and emotional support, helping with a range of issues including bereavement, separation, bullying, domestic abuse, drug or alcohol use, additional educational needs, housing, debt and challenging behaviour.

If you feel we would be able to offer you or your family support please get in contact with us on 01992303331 (opt 5) or you can visit our website www.habsfamily.co.uk or follow us on Facebook @HABScommunity


The HABS family support team are pleased to welcome Warren Dell Primary school and Churchfield CE Academy to the partnership. 

HABS are also now the proud managers of the Hertford, Ware Villages School Partnership.

Our Core Offer: 

We offer advice and support to children, young people, and their families on a range of issues and concerns including: 

Mental health, Emotional Wellbeing, Separation and divorce, Mediation, Bereavement and loss, Young carers, Housing and eviction, Debt management, Domestic abuse, Transition, Benefits advice and support, Confidence and Self esteem, Parenting support and advice 

We also have an excellent working relationship with local teams, enabling us to signpost to many local activities, support groups, parenting programmes, and information services in our local community.         

If you feel we would be able to offer you or your family support please get in contact with Hayley or Karen on 07745 374901 / 07545 501825 or you can visit the HABS website with a dedicated section for HWVSP www.habsfamily.co.uk or follow us on Facebook @HABScommunity  

CHEXS Family Support Team
Our Family Support team are #hereforyou and available for our Parent Virtual Chats (Every Tuesday at 10am), parenting support, advice, tips and SO much more.
Here's what our Family Support Team can help you with, we're just a phone call or email away and we're ready to help

Herts Mind Network

The Community Support Service (CSS) is a mental health outreach service run by Herts Mind Network and in partnership with local councils. CSS currently operates in Watford, Three Rivers, Hertsmere and Broxbourne.

The service is for adults age 18 plus and delivers one to one holistic , practical and emotional support with a range of issues.  These include coping strategies and developing emotional resilience. Support with housing, benefits and debt. Support around drug and alcohol abuse and supporting parents who may be on a child protection, child in need plan or family support plan. Mental health should be the primary need.

For any referral enquiries please contact css@hertsmindnetwork.org


Is a user-friendly web-based referral system for local community health and wellbeing services. Organisations can refer/signpost to other providers via the up-to-date library of local services. All referrals are encrypted, consent driven and referrers can 'track' any referral they make. Currently, Frontline covers both East Herts and Broxbourne.

Services for Young People 

A further project they will be delivering this term is the project for Young Parents and Young Parents to be.  Projects will be taking place across Hertfordshire.  In our area this will be delivered each Thursday 2-4pm, at our Waltham Cross Young People’s Centre Stanhope Road, Waltham Cross, EN8 7DJ

Update from East Herts early help services:-

Citizens Advice East Herts - Service Update

As an advice service our focus is on making sure people are able to access the support they need in a way that works for them and we've found many people like being able to access us remotely. As lockdown restrictions lift we won't be going back to a 'drop in' service from our offices which only worked for a minority. Instead we'll operate our service across multiple channels, helping people by phone, email, webchat, video and online. We'll continue to offer home visits and in person appointments in community locations to those who need them. This short video (1.5 minutes) explains more. For more details on our services and how to access them please visit https://citizensadviceeastherts.org.uk.

Tthe Citizens Advice East Herts are running a short survey to help them find out about local community needs post pandemic, what people know about our service and how they would wish to access it, if needed. Please share with your communities

CVS for Broxbourne & East Herts latest e-bulletin can be viewed here

View the East Herts Frontline - library of services

Dacorum & St Albans

Update from Dacorum early help services:-

Colourful Minds: Free Online Creative Therapy Course

Colourful Minds is a free Creative Therapy Course for adults in Dacorum (aged 18+) with mild to moderate mental health conditions, such as stress, anxiety and depression, starting on the 5th November 2021.  The course is run by a qualified Art Therapist from Herts Inclusive Theatre and funded by Dacorum Borough Council. Application to the course is by referral only from a GP, health professional/agency or support agency/worker.

We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity free of charge to anyone who may need support. Sessions are run weekly on Zoom and no previous art or creative experience is needed. Materials are also provided.

If you know anyone who may benefit from attending the course, please Please download this leaflet and contact kerry@hit-theatre.org.uk for more information.

Workshops for young people this autumn – last year Dacorum District Council planned to run a Beatboxing Project for young people that had to be cancelled due to COVID. We are now looking at running a few workshops with the same artists this autumn, who run a very successful Beatboxing Academy in South London. The workshops may not be Beatboxing (the nature of this is not particularly COVID-safe due to the spitting involved!), however possibly rapping or music/performance related.  If you have a group of young people who may benefit from these workshops and working with these brilliant South London artists, please get in touch. We are also looking to deliver these as pilot workshops for a possible larger project at a later date, in consultation with the young people taking part: Email annie.smith@dacorum.gov.uk

DSPL 8 run a number of courses for parents, carers and professionals. Click here to see a list of the current available courses, together with details of how to sign up. 

Update from St Albans early help services:-

Watford, Three Rivers & Hertsmere

Update from Watford early help services:-

Youth Link

Youth Link aims to work with various sectors in our local community to create connections to relevant and safe provisions for Children and Young People.

Find out more in these downloadable leaflets:-

Youth Link Information Sheet - CYP

Youth Link Information Sheet - Partners

Update from Three Rivers and Hertsmere early help services:-

North Herts & Stevenage

Update from North Herts/Stevenage early help services:-

Please submit any updates to familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life