Families First News

Front page - Welcome

Welcome to our September Newsletter

We hope you have all had a good summer and managed to have some time off.

In this article we have news about our Welwyn Hatfield Families First Event, an introduction to the new Family Centre Service, performance report, information sharing and much more.

We are pleased to say that we have now set up our Twitter page which will be used to promote the Families First brand, spread news from our partners and give updates on topical issues. Please follow us @FFHerts

The latest news

Our Families First Event in Welwyn Hatfield is coming soon

The Welwyn Hatfield Families First event date has now been set for 10 October. The event is aimed at practitioners, to provide an ideal opportunity to network, hear about Families First and the local services in this area.

Key Information:

‘Drop in’ event

10 October 2018

1.15pm – 4.15pm

Christchurch Baptist, 20 Tewin Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1BW

Please register your attendance at this event via our Eventbrite page.

If you are interested in hosting a stall at this event please email Families First Support



Update from the Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team

Training Updates

Families First Practice and Early Help Module (EHM) system training

  • This full day training is aimed at practitioners who will initiate Families First Assessments (FFA) and/or undertake a keyworker role for a family. Delegates attending this course will gain an understanding and overview of Families First principles in Hertfordshire, Families First Practice Standards, pathways and tools, including when and how to complete a Families First Assessment (FFA), using EHM system to effectively record and evidence support for family, undertaking the keyworker role and coordinating an effective Team Around the Family (TAF) and ongoing system and practice support for practitioners.

Families First TAF Member Training – Half Day

  • We have developed half day TAF Member training for all practitioners who will only be members of the Team Around the Family. They will never initiate Families First Assessments (FFA) and/or undertake a keyworker role for a family. Delegates attending this course will gain an understanding and overview of Families First principles in Hertfordshire, Families First Practice Standards, pathways and tools, including using EHM system to effectively record and evidence support for family and undertaking the TAF member role. This course has been delivered since June 2018.

Families First Keyworker Litebite Training – Half Day

  • We have developed a new half day integrated Families First Keyworker Litebite Training which will be in addition to the current Families First Practice and EHM System training. Please note this new course is aimed at practitioners who are already trained on the EHM System and will initiate Families First Assessments (FFA) or Short Term Work and/or undertake a keyworker role for a family. This new training is being delivered from September onwards.

**Coming Soon** Families First external Partners Managers Oversight lite bite Training(2 Hours)

  • We have developed a new 2 hour Families First external Partners Managers Oversight training. This course is aimed at external partners who manage practitioners who initiate Families First Assessments (FFA) and/or undertake a keyworker role for a family. The aim is for managers to have an understanding and overview of Families First principles in Hertfordshire, Families First Practice Standards, pathways and tools, including using EHM system, to have effective oversight of the cases their staff are keyworkers for and have an understanding of the expectations of a keyworker in accordance with the Families First Practice Guidance. This course will begin to be delivered from October 2018.

Training dates, venues and booking can be accessed via Families First Portal Practitioners area.

Families First Practitioner Training

Practice Standards and Guidance

The practice standards and guidance is aimed at practitioners who undertake and/or contribute to the FFA process through the TAF, to enable you understand the process, pathways and tools available to support you in your work with families; to embed consistent practice in the quality of your work with families; share learning and good practice and to better evidence the difference you make to families receiving early help support. This is available on the Families First Portal Practitioners area. In Practice Help

FF Portal Practitioners Area – No longer requires a login or password to access

Please note you no longer require a log in or password to access the Practitioners area of the Portal. Please use this link Families First Portal - Practitioners area or www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/familiesfirstpractitionersarea

EHM How to Guides

  • For further support with using the EHM system you can access EHM How to Guides also available on the FF Portal in the Families First Assessment and Early Help Module section.
  • Password: Hertfordshire

Please can we encourage everyone to complete the POP UP feedback when they go to the FF Portal

This pops up in both the public facing side and the practitioner’s area and response to this will help to further develop the portal.  We want to encourage practitioners and families to complete the short survey to give us their feedback on the Portal. It will be open for the next couple of months.

Family First Coordinators – How can they support you locally?

As your local Family First Coordinators, we can offer support in all areas of the Families First Assessment. Please contact us if you are experiencing any difficulties or require further advice and guidance. We can support you with challenges including:

    • When and how to initiate a Family First Assessment
    • How to complete the Families First Assessment and Action Plan & Review forms
    • Ensuring the strengths and views of the whole family including the voice of the child and young person are embedded into the process
    • How to create the Team Around the Family - What service to be involved
    • Ensuring that Early Help Module tools and processes are used effectively, and with timely re-views
    • How to progress the Family First Episode effectively
    • Complex cases including those stepped down from Children’s Services
    • Follow-on bespoke training in all areas of the Family First Early Help process
    • Support you to understand the Family First Episode and Team Around Family process
    • Support can be provided by telephone, email and/or one-to-one visits (see contact details below). We can attend and facilitate review meetings/Team Around the Family meetings in any of the following circumstances:
    • The Key Worker is unfamiliar with the Family First process i.e. new to the process
    • The Key Worker is struggling to draw together the relevant professionals
    • The Key Worker has concerns around the case

We can be contacted using the following details:

East Herts & Broxbourne Districts

Senior Families First Coordinator: Serena Yearwood
Serena External Tel. No: 01438 845678 (Comnet: 55678)
Email: serena.yearwood@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Families First Coordinator: Jackie Brewin
External Tel. No: 01438 844982 (Comnet: 54982)
Email: jackie.brewin@hertfordshire.gov.uk

St Albans & Dacorum Districts

Senior Families First Coordinator: Therese Antoine
External Tel No: 01992 588831 (Comnet: 28831)
Email: therese.antoine@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Families First Coordinator: Jackie Green
External Tel No: 01438 844191 (Comnet: 54191)
Email: jackie.green@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Stevenage & North Herts Districts

Senior Families First Coordinator: Jade Archibald (Mon-Wed) / Holly Turl (Wed-Fri)
Jade External Tel No: 01438 843098 (Comnet: 53098)
Email: jade.archibald1@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Holly External Tel No: 01438 843794 (Comnet: 53794)
Email: holly.turl@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Families First Coordinator: Suzanne Paisley (Mon-Wed)
Suzanne External Tel No: 01438 843519 (Comnet: 53519)
Email: suzanne.paisley@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Watford & Three Rivers Districts

Senior Families First Coordinator: George Gearing
External Tel No: Tel: 01438 844038 (Comnet: 54038)
Email: george.gearing@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Families First Coordinator: tbc

Welwyn Hatfield & Hertsmere Districts

Senior Families First Coordinator: Freya Rymer
External Tel. No: 01438 844616 (Comnet: 54616)
Email: freya.rymer@hertfordshire.gov.uk
Families First Coordinator: Emma Delaperelle
External Tel. No: 01438 843288 (Comnet: 53288)
Email: emma.delaperelle@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Supporting Countywide:

Senior Families First Coordinator Helen Whyman
External Tel. No: 01438 844746 (Comnet: 54746)
Email: helen.whyman1@hertfordshire.gov.uk

The Family First Helpdesk team provides advice and support for the Early Help Module in the county. They can be contacted about:

  • Early Help Module New User Forms
  • Registration of families on the Early Help Module
  • Technical support for Early Help Module system

Opening times are:

Monday to Thursday 9am – 5pm Friday 9am – 4.30pm
To contact the Family First Helpdesk: Telephone: 01438 737575 

Email: familiesfirstassessment@hertfordshire.gov.uk


Introduction to the Family Centre Service

Public Health Nursing (PHN), who provide Health Visiting and School Nursing services, and Children’s Centres will be re-launched from 1st October 2018 as the Family Centre Service

The Children’s Centre service will be known as the Family Support Service (FSS) and will work closely with PHN to deliver the Hertfordshire Family Centre Service. The providers who have been awarded the contracts for the revised service are:

• Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust - Public Health Nursing across the whole County

• Hertsmere Leisure – South and West Quadrants - Family Support Service

• One YMCA – East Quadrant – Family Support Service

• Barnardo’s – North Quadrant – Family Support Service

More information can be found in the Family Centre Newsletter




Performance Report

Our County summary performance report covering the period 1 July 2017 - 30 June 2018, is now available to view.


Information sharing

Information sharing is essential for effective safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. It is a key factor identified in many serious case reviews (SCRs), where poor information sharing has resulted in missed opportunities to take action that keeps children and young people safe.

Please see the Government's Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers



Two New Outcome Stars

Family Services Commissioning (FSC) have been working in partnership with Triangle, For Baby’s Sake and Essex County Council as well as a range of Hertfordshire professionals to develop two new Outcome Stars:

  • Parent and Baby Outcome Star : to be used for parents who are experiencing perinatal mental health difficulties
  • Family Star (Relationships) : an alternative to the Family Star (Plus) to be used with parents who are experiencing conflict in their co-parenting relationship

During the pilot and development of the new stars all recording was done using paper, however this will be moved to online reporting once the stars are published.

In preparation for the new stars being available, FSC would like to know who is planning to use the stars and whether new user accounts and training would be needed.

To help with this, please could you complete this spreadsheet and lists all staff who you anticipate using one/both new stars.

FSC will announce and share once the new stars have been published and available to be used.

Please send completed spreadsheets to FSC.Team@hertfordshire.gov.uk


SEND Local offer

SEND Transformation - Staff Update

Transforming Children’s Services Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support and services


We have begun the preparation for the SEND Transformation programme and we are currently recruiting to a number of fixed term posts to support the work over the next 2 years. The overall Head of Transformation post will report into the Operations Director – Services for Young People and will work closely with Andy Lawrence, Head of 0-25 Together Service and Jennie Newman, interim Head of ISL.  The programme management will be led by Family Services Commissioning.  The corporate HCC Customer Service team are also recruiting to posts to support the digital and technology aspects of the programme.

As part of the preparation we are reviewing the number of Panels and Boards currently leading SEND developments and we will be consulting on a proposed revised governance structure to include the SEND Transformation Programme and clarify how existing development work fits into this.

The SEND Information, Advice and Guidance project is now part of the Transformation Programme, and we are working with the Hertfordshire Parent Carer Involvement forum who are going to help us review the Local Offer website and check that the information published is accessible, relevant, accurate and clear.

Finally, we are developing a communications plan and we will be holding workshops, focus groups surveys etc with staff, schools, service users and families, partners and other stakeholders throughout the Transformation programme. We are merging the current HAND and SEND e-bulletins into one e-newsletter, and we will include a SEND Transformation Update section to provide an update of the programme’s progress.

For more information contact details can be found here


Money Advice Newsletter

The August Money Advice newsletter is now available for download. Covering topical issues such as:-

  • Good news for Personal Independence Payment claimants!

  • Universal Credit Update

  • DWP error on ESA corrected

  • Exemption from work capability reassessments

  • Industrial injuries benefits

Also the Autumn 2018 training programme and a booking form are now available. Please note that bookings will only be accepted on this form and that the restriction of 2 staff per organisation still applies








News from the Freedom Programme

Cherished will be taking over as lead agency for the Freedom Programme in Dacorum, while the Children Centres undertake their changes to Family Centres.

Find out more...


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

Train like a Jedi !

Public Health England (PHE) and Disney UK have launched a brand new national physical activity programme for children.

The new Change4Life programme uses the excitement of Star WarsTM and its characters to encourage children to Train like a Jedi and is designed to increase levels of physical activity amongst children in England.

This year marks the fifth year PHE and Disney have worked together to inspire children to move more, with an estimated 300 million minutes of activity inspired to date.

You can find the Change4Life Train like a Jedi programme here.


Suicide Prevention Training

Emotional wellbeing/mental health training survey

The emotional wellbeing and mental health of the children and young people in Hertfordshire is an area that is requiring more and more support from professionals.

The aim of this short survey is to determine what mental health awareness and resilience training is being delivered across the workforce to help professionals support children and young people with emotional wellbeing/mental health concerns and also to find out how effective any training has been.

If you could spare 5 minutes to complete this questionnaire it will help us to gain a clearer picture of what is already going on and any gaps that need to be addressed.

The survey will close on Friday 14th September.

Thank you in advance for your support with this.

Difference we're making

The Children’s Wellbeing Team attend Crucial Crew across Hertfordshire


The Children’s Wellbeing Team attend Crucial Crew across Hertfordshire


Crucial Crew runs across most of Hertfordshire educating approximately 10,000 Year 6 pupils each year and has been running for around 26 years in some areas. The scheme aims to provide vital safety messages and life skills to support these children into their next stage if life – Independence.

The schemes are organised by Alex Lang who voluntarily runs the Crucial Crew Charity which is responsible for six schemes and there are three other schemes are run by ASPECTS, in Bishops Stortford, and the District councils in St Albans and Welwyn Hatfield. The professionals that take part in these events are volunteers who give up their free time or teams, like the CWP’s, Firemen, NHS, & Police who are able to schedule their time for this vital education in to their existing roles.   Without funding, volunteers and professional agencies this scheme simply would not exist and it gets harder to achieve every year. 

CWP involvement

As we know, emotional wellbeing is one of the most talked about issues and as CWP’s a large part of our role is to provide Psycho-Education to help combat this growing issue.

In May the CWP’s attended Bishops Stortford Crucial Crew, organised by ASPECTS, for the first time as a pilot exercise with a view to promoting awareness around Anxiety in Children and Young people. We spent the week talking to 648 year 6 pupils talking about What Anxiety is, how it affects our bodies and looking at ways we can get help and practicing relaxation exercises.  

Bishops Stortford was a success and the feedback we received was positive so we got in touch with Alex Lang and made plans to attend the North Herts Crucial Crew event in July. There were 900 year 6 pupils who came through during those two weeks and once again the feedback was very positive.

As part of the events we have also increased awareness of Kooth .com, #Just Talk and Breathewithme.co.uk - almost 100% of pupils were unaware of these links!

Feedback and effectiveness

In order to capture how effective the CWP’’s message is we asked every pupil the same questions and although we have feedback still coming in, the feedback is showing us that Yes, we are getting the message out there!

Do you know what Anxiety is? Before (62%) After (96%) That’s a 34% increase

Do you know what Fight or Flight means? Before (22%) After (89%) That’s a 67% increase

Do you know how your body reacts when you get scared or nervous? Before (79%) After (96%) That’s 17% increase

Do you know where you can get help if you need it? Before (88%) After (97%) That’s a 9% increase

Did you enjoy the workshop? 86% said YES!

The CWP’s have enjoyed spending their time on Crucial Crew and we know it has been invaluable to us as a team to spread the message that Anxiety is ok; it’s normal and absolutely manageable. It’s been a great opportunity for networking and letting the schools know that there is support our there for all Hertfordshire Pupils.

The future for CWP’s and Crucial Crew

The CWP’s are now planning to attend the Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead & Broxbourne Crucial Crews which are running up until Christmas, and hopefully, we will attend future Crucial Crews in 2019 as well.

All photos are from Bishops Stortford Crucial Crew – photographic consent for pupils obtained by ASPECTS.



Otley Summer Fete 2018

On the 2nd August 2018 IFST Watford and Three Rivers held our second summer fete at Otley Family Centre – South Oxhey. The idea was the bring together the local community as well as raise some money for the Peace Hospice.

The fete included second hand stalls such as clothes, toys and bric-a-brac as well as games like pin the tail on the donkey, guess the name of the bear and guess the amount of sweets in the jar.  Not only where there stalls and games, there were also activities including pebble decorating, sand jars and face painting.

The barbeque was a great success selling hot dogs and burgers as well as cold drinks, which were definitely needed as temperatures reached up to 30 degrees!

To bring the event together there was a DJ, playing a range of songs giving great atmosphere to the event, he also did dance competitions with loads of prizes, which was extremely popular with the children.

The event charge £1 per group to get in and in return they received a raffle ticket with the chance to win great prizes that had  kindly been donated, including family entry to Willows Farm, Parents Paradise and a six month membership at Everyone Active Leisure Centre.

As well as our own stalls, other local agencies such as ASCEND and HomeStart were invited to attend and hold their own stalls to advertise what they do. HomeStart even had a teddy raffle! The local police also attended, giving the children (and parents!) a chance to have a go in the police car turning on the lights and sirens.

NCS young people working with YC Hertfordshire were a great help for the event, setting up and helping out on the extra stalls and clearing away at the end.

Overall the day was a huge success with the sun shining over us the whole day and a total of £500 being raised to go to the Peace Hospice.



The Families First Portal

Quick Links to the Families First Portal

How can I add/manage a record for my Service?

Here are some quick links to the most popular sections of the Families First Portal... 


FF logo colour FF logo b&w FF WFD logo colour FF WFD logo b&w FF bullet point colour FF bullet point b&w FF logo extract colour FF logo extract b&w FF web icon colour FF web icon b&w

FF Prac leaflet Brand in a Box flyer  


Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life