Families First News

Front page - Welcome

Welcome to our September Newsletter

We hope you have all had a good summer and managed to enjoy a break from your busy roles.

Our September issue, once again is a full one! We have an update on the Troubled Families Funding and news of a new team, Families First Homelessness Prevention Team, which is a Children’s Services team aiming to help those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. We have news on the Parenting Together - Support Programme, new dates for the emotional wellbeing masterclasses for parents and much more.

Please also take a moment to complete our partner survey to help us get a snap shot of how well Families First has been embedded across Hertfordshire's early help services and pass on to any colleagues/partners to complete.

We also have the dates for the next set of Families First Practice Forums and don't forget to visit our Learning and Development pages with dates for the HSCP neglect learning hub along with new dates for Teen Brain and Baby's Brain other informative training opportunities.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and find it helpful. Please also 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 us to include in future editions.

Thank you for reading,

Best wishes from the Families First Development Team

The latest news

Troubled Families Funding Update

Following the Government Spending Round on 4th September, we have now received confirmation that the Troubled Families funding will continue for a further 12 months until the end of March 2021. We have no further information on what this funding will be and are expecting an announcement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shortly. Please see the message from the Ministry below:

We are pleased to tell you that continued funding has been confirmed for the Troubled Families Programme for 2020-21, as part of the one-year spending round. This great news was announced in HM Treasury’s spending review document.

Thank you to everyone that has been involved in supporting families to achieve fantastic outcomes across the country, whether through direct family intervention, analysis, management or strategic leadership. Your success over the past 4 years enabled us to make a strong case for this further funding. We know you are already working hard to embed whole family working across the public sector, and there is still much more to do. The aim of this additional year of investment is to enable you to go further and faster.

It is much welcome news, however like many other authorities; Hertfordshire is having to consider the pressure associated with sustaining non-statutory services within reduced resources.  For this reason, we are being asked to consider how early intervention services could be delivered in the future.  We want to ensure that partner’s views are heard throughout the process and that there are ample opportunities to shape and develop a future sustainable Families First model.

In light of this, we will be hosting a range of stakeholder workshops. To book your place, please contact familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk. You can also continue to feedback your views at local Partnership Boards.

Stakeholder workshop dates:

  • Stevenage and North HertsMonday 14th October now Thursday 14th November, 10am
  • Watford, Three Rivers and Hertsmere - Friday 25th October
  • St Albans and Dacorum – Monday 28th October,
  • East Herts, Broxbourne and Welwyn/Hatfield  - Monday 4th November

We are really proud of all the hard work, passion, enthusiasm and incredible outcomes and the difference that the Families First partnership makes to families in Hertfordshire. We remain optimistic that a 3-year comprehensive spending review in spring next year will provide us with some stability beyond 2021, however we will need to prepare for all potential scenarios.



We need your help!

The Troubled Families Programme (2015 –2020) was developed to achieve significant and sustained progress for up to 400,000 families with multiple, high-cost problems. This is backed by £920m of government investment. This funding supports local areas through a mix of grant funding and payments by results. In addition to the successful progress achieved by families, the programme is also a driver to securing localised transformation of public services working with families with multiple problems through the development of an integrated, ‘whole family approach’. A national evaluation was published in March 2019 about the progress to date and the headlines about the impact the programme is having.

This programme is run from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and managed by upper tier local authorities in England and their partners. The Hertfordshire payment by results element of funding is based upon providing evidence of 4,670 families, across the five years, who have achieved significant or sustained progress against the needs originally identified or families no longer being reliant on out of work benefits through moving into sustained employment. To date, evidence has been submitted for 2,647 families and we now have nine months to evidence the success for a further 2,023 families. Achieving this will generate £1.62 million for the county.

The headline problems for the Troubled Families programme are:

  1. worklessness
  2. poor school attendance
  3. mental and physical health problems
  4. crime and anti-social behaviour
  5. domestic violence and abuse
  6. children who are classified as in need of help and protection.

We need your help! Although we can evidence outcomes for families receiving support from Families First Assessments, Short Term Work, Youth Justice and the work of the Family Safeguarding teams, we are aware that there are a lot of other families receiving support and achieving great outcomes, but the details of these are held on local systems.

Where this is the case, are you aware or specific examples of families you have supported over the last three years, where at least two of the headline problems have been apparent and addressed? Is there also evidence that a worker has led a whole family assessment and action plan, which covers the needs of the relevant family members?

If you can help, please get in touch, as the success achieved could be included in the county submission to MHCLG. For further information, please email Families First support FamiliesFirst.Support@hertfordshire.gov.uk and someone from the Evaluation & Development Team will be in touch.

New Families First Homeless Prevention Team!

The Families First Homeless Prevention Team is a Children’s Services team which aims to help those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.

What is the purpose of the service?

The team aims to achieve the following outcome:

  • A reduction in the number of Intentionally Homeless families requiring support from Children’s Services by identifying and supporting families at the earliest opportunity
  • A reduction in Children’s Services spend per intentionally homeless family by developing plans to ensure families become self-sustaining and are not dependant on the local authority.

Who is the service for?

The team will work with families with children and young people aged 0 - 18 (up to 25 years if they have a special educational need or disability). We work with families who are at risk of becoming homeless or have (or about to) receive(d) an intentionally homeless decision from a local district/borough council.

A family could be at risk of becoming homeless if they:

  • Have a significant amount of rent arrears
  • Have received substantial support via the district/borough council through multiple support plans.
  • Have a combination of the above and are not engaging with support provided through the district/borough council.

What does the team do?

The team can support families by offering the following services:

  • Employment and training support;
  • Help addressing money and debt problems;
  • Benefits advice;
  • Help liaising with your housing providers including through the Personal Housing Plan process.

The team works under the Families First model (Hertfordshire’s approach to early help) and if it is identified that a family who is at risk of homelessness or is intentionally homeless have additional needs other than housing, the Families First, Homelessness Prevention Team is able to identify further support to overcome these issues. Additional problems could include:

  • Support reducing alcohol and/or drug misuse
  • Parenting
  • Mental and physical health problems
  • Parental conflict
  • Domestic Abuse
  • School related concerns – such as your child not attending school

If safeguarding concerns are identified and these additional concerns require a social care response from one of our Family Safeguarding Teams, the Families First, Homelessness Prevention Team will also be able to ensure that this support is provided in a timely way and will continue to work with families to address their housing needs.

Where is the team located?

The team is based within the Children’s Services Department within the Families First Triage team. There is a Consultant Social Worker and 4 Homeless Prevention Officers within the team. The Homeless Prevention Officer’s co-locate with local district/borough housing authorities and split their time between county offices in Stevenage and local district/borough council buildings.

How can the service be accessed?

From 1st October 2019, if a family has been identified as being at risk of homelessness or has received (or is about to receive) an intentionally homeless decision by a district/local authority, partners including housing authorities and providers should initiate a referral to Children’s Services via the Customer Service Centre (0300 123 4043). Further details regarding referrals for new cases can be found here.  

For cases currently open within Children’s Services, a request for a case transfer or request for support should be made by following the standard internal transfer procedures and completing the referral. Families with additional safeguarding concerns, as well as issues with housing will continue to be case held by safeguarding and specialist services and will be allocated a Homeless Prevention Officer to support with the development of an accommodation move on plan.

N.B Families who are ineligible for support as a results of No Recourse to Public Funds will continue to be supported via the Assessment Team.

Families First Assessments – Partners Case Quality Assurance and Key Learning 2019/2020 Qtr1

This is a briefing to share with partners the findings and key learning from a recently completed quality audit of a sample of 20 open FFA cases where the keyworker is a partner agency. The 20 cases were randomly selected from a list of cases registered for a Families First Assessment between September 2018 and March 2019.

The purpose of the audit was to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families through FFAs
  • Assess the quality of practice in line with Families First pathways, including how effectively or not, the FF Practice Standards and guidance is used in our work to support children and families, and how we effectively evidence the impact of interventions in improving outcomes for children and families as part of our continuous improvement cycle to improve the quality of practice  and effectively evidence the impact of interventions through our work.
  • Identify areas of good practice and lessons to be learnt, and areas for further development.


Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Team Offer

There are 2 main sources of advice for Early Help professionals and Partner Agencies:

Families First Helpdesk – The helpdesk provides support for the Early Help Module (EHM) system and manage all registrations for FFAs or short-term work.

Families First Coordinators - There is a named Senior First Coordinator and Families First Coordinator covering each local double district to champion, promote and support effective use of Families First.  They also provide information, advice, guidance and practice support on Families First delivery model, processes and Early Help Module (EHM) system.

For the full Team offer to Practitioners and Partners and contact details for your local district Click Here

Coming Soon! Families First - Your Voice

As part of our commitment to the voices of children, young people and families we are in the process of setting up a Families First Parent and Carer feedback group. The group will work to provide feedback, offer constructive challenge and input into decision making and planning for future service provision. The feedback will be collated in a variety of ways, from coffee mornings to online testing during website development and our aim is to make it very flexible for parents to have involvement in a way that suits them.

We have a proposed name of "Families First - Your Voice" and a proposed logo below. Once this group has been set up we would like to prepare a timeline of topics that we can address with families and would welcome any suggestions. Please email familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk if you would like to be involved as this group develops.

We will update you soon with a link for interested parents to sign up to.

Parenting Together - Support Programme


We’re pleased to announce The Parenting Together Programme has been live since 1st July and we’re already receiving a healthy amount of referrals.

With many parents already starting their interventions and successfully on track to resolving parental conflict, please remember to talk to any parents you are working with about their relationships and continue to consider The Parenting Together Programme to help provide support.

Want to know more?

Promotional visits As a frontline practitioner supporting our families, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to help you with parents in conflict. If you think you/your team would benefit from a visit from the Parenting Together team or you would like to nominate a team you think would benefit, please get in touch here.

Practitioner Training on Parental Conflict This autumn, we will be holding more training days - If you are in the Hertfordshire area click here to book.

If you are not, please register your interest here for any upcoming dates in your area.


What is The Parenting Together Programme?

When conflict between parents is frequent, intense and poorly resolved, it can harm children's’ outcomes – regardless of whether parents are together or separated.

The risk of conflict between parents is higher at crucial points in family life, such as becoming pregnant, having a baby, a child starting or changing school, or separation and divorce. However, relationship difficulties are often seen as a private matter, and couples tend only to seek help when they are in crisis.

Who can be referred?

  • Parents who are currently experiencing conflict, this does not include domestic abuse
  • Parents can receive support whether they are together or separated, and they can be already in receipt of any level of support from Children’s Services or other services (e.g. open to social care)
  • Parents will be able to access the programmes in community locations and can be supported with childcare and travel costs if needed.Any practitioner supporting families in Hertfordshire, Essex, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire or Southend can make a referral.Using the link below, sign up to The Parenting Together newsletter to make sure you are accessing the most up-to-date referral forms and receiving any new updates relating to the programme. Here you will also find the ‘make a referral’ tab which includes a full step-by-step guide on how to fill in your questionnaires and send them into the team. https://www.parentingtogethersupportprogramme.org.uk/ What are the interventions available? For high level conflict:
  • Eligible parents will be able to access one of four new evidence based programmes; the level and type of intervention depends on the parents’ situation and the level of conflict:
  • For any queries regarding the programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at parentingtogether@hertfordshire.gov.uk or call on 01992 555172.
  • How can I make a referral?
  • Who can make a referral?


A quick survey for partners...

We would like to take a snap-shot of how the Families First way of working has been embedded across Hertfordshire's early help services and our partners, so can we please ask you to take the time to complete our brief survey and to also pass this survey on to your colleagues/teams and partners that work within the early help services to complete themselves.

Also if your service attends the Families First Partnership Group meetings, there is a short second survey to get your views on the benefits of these meetings..

Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass - Autumn 2019 Dates


Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass workshops offer a way of supporting parents in Hertfordshire to respond to the mental health and emotional well-being needs of their children. It aims to provide evidence based, early intervention strategies, which focuses on empowering parents to confidently respond to their child’s mental health and emotional well-being needs.

Following the workshop there is an expectation that the learnt strategies are tried and implemented. Additionally the workshop focuses on the parent and child partnership, exploring mental health and emotional well-being needs, providing psycho-education and evidence based early intervention strategies which can then be used to improve your child’s mental health and emotional well-being. 

Parents who have attended the Emotional Wellbeing Masterclass have reported leaving the masterclass feeling empowered to implement the strategies provided in the class and feel they have learnt and are taking away knowledge and understanding to use for improvement in their child’s/young person’s mental health and emotional well-being.

The Parents Masterclass Workshop is for parents only. We are unable to provide a crèche facility at this time, therefore please ensure that you arrange suitable child care when attending the workshop.

  • South Oxhey - 11/09/19 (Primary age).  Otley Way Family Centre, WD19 7TB


  • South Oxhey - 18/09/2019 (Secondary age). As above 


  • Borehamwood 27/11/2019 (Primary age) Aycliffe Road, WD6 4EY


  • Borehamwood 02/10/2019 (Secondary age) As above 


  • Waltham Cross 09/10/2019 (Primary age) – Crossbrook Family Centre, 79a Crossbrook Street, EN8 8LU


  • Waltham Cross 16/10/2019 (Secondary age) - As above 


  • Hemel Hempstead 23/10/2019 (Primary age) – Greenhills Day Centre, Tenzing Road, HP2 4HS


  • Hemel Hempstead 06/11/2019 (Secondary age) – As above 


  • Stevenage - 13/11/2019 (Primary age) - Starfish House, North Road, SG1 4AT


  • Stevenage 20/11/2019 (Secondary age) – As above


CGL: Supporting Young People with drug and alcohol issues

The new CGL Spectrum Families and Young People’s Service has been running for 5 months now and we’d like to take the opportunity to remind you what support they offer to young people with drug and alcohol issues and their families and how you can rerfer.

They offer free treatment for young people under 18 years-old and young adults up to the age of 25 who are having issues with drinking or drug use. The service is free and confidential, and they also work with the families of these young people.

Citizens Advice - Help to Claim

A reminder that Help to Claim is a dedicated service from Citizens Advice. It’s free, independent, confidential and impartial. Their trained advisers can help with things like how to gather evidence for applications or help with how to prepare for a first Jobcentre appointment. More information can be found here.

Safer Places

Safer Places provide support for men and women aged 16 years and over; we cover all of Hertfordshire and parts of Mid and West Essex. We offer a 24 hour advice and information line 03301025811, safe refuge accommodation including for males and those with complex needs, community based outreach support for all risk levels, counselling, legal services, training, domestic abuse recovery programmes and specialist stalking support for DA and non DA victims of stalking.

To make a referral call us on 03301 025811 or e-mail referrals@saferplaces.co.uk. Further information can be found at www.saferplaces.co.uk

Bereaved parents will be spared children's funeral costs

Families grieving the loss of a child will no longer have to meet the costs of their burial or cremation, as a result of a new government scheme.

Every year in England, an estimated 3,800 children die under the age of 18, and there are a further 2,700 stillbirths. The Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF) will come into effect on July 23rd 2019.  

Under the fund arrangements, no bereaved family will have to pay the fees charged for a child’s cremation or burial or for a number of prescribed associated expenses. The fund provides for burial authorities and cremation authorities to apply to government for the reimbursement of the fees which would otherwise be charged to the parent of an eligible child. It also provides for funeral directors to apply for reimbursement of certain associated expenses, including a £300 contribution towards the price of a coffin.

If the person responsible for organising the burial or cremation chooses not to use a funeral director but makes the funeral arrangements themselves, they will be able to claim directly for those expenses from the fund.

The main conditions for the scheme are that the child is under 18 at the time of death or is stillborn after the 24th week of pregnancy, and that the burial or cremation takes place in England. The scheme is not means-tested, and the residency or nationality of the deceased child, or of the person organising the burial or cremation, is not relevant either. Regulations are to be laid in parliament today (Monday 1 July), ahead of the Fund coming into effect on 23 July.

Learning & development

Local Families First Practice Forums

Facilitated by Families First Partnerships & Development Team

A Families First Practice Forum is a facilitated session in each district which provides practitioners with an opportunity to share learning and increase confidence and ability in using Families First and EHM processes. It also provides an opportunity to have face to face individual case discussion with your Senior Coordinator regarding any enquiries about any family you are working with, open to a Families First Assessment or not, and will support and advise you on how to progress these cases.

The next sessions of Local Practice Forums will be held during the week of 16 September 2019 and will focus on Starting a Families First Assessment, the Families First Process and individual case discussion.

Booking is easy – Simply,  email FFPracticeForum@hertfordshire.gov.uk to confirm your attendance and remember to tell us the district and date that you would like to attend. You can also register any request for case discussions through this email, adding the district you work within as the subject heading.

Please follow the link below for further details including dates, venues and themes planned for the Families First Forums.


Families First Practice Forums


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

Duration: Full day from 9:30am to 4:00pm

Families First Practice and EHM system training is a full day training that incorporates Families First tools, Practice Standards, Guidance and EHM system.

This course 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.

We have spaces available on the following date

Robertson House

24th September 2019

Robertson House

21st October 2019

Robertson House

15th November 2019

Robertson House

29th November 2019

Robertson House

6th December 2019


To book a place on this training Click Here

Workforce Development Update

Families first logo

Families First partners are working together to design a new and exciting workforce development offer, aimed at developing skills and knowledge across the range of Families First partners to support with embedding the Families First delivery model in Hertfordshire.

As part of this work we are exploring the opportunity of opening up the Children’s Service Learning and Development Team training programme, available to all HCC Children’s Services staff and partners. Initially, we will be offering out space to partners free of charge for upcoming courses where there are spaces still available, giving a minimum of a week’s notice.

We will be communicating these training opportunities via the Familiesfirst.support@hertfordshire.gov.uk mailbox (email us if you aren't on our partners list yet!).

A list of the L&D training programmes on offer can be found below.


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.

The Learning Hub in October 2019 is on the theme of neglect, and this newsletter provides key information about evidence and initiatives in Hertfordshire. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview, but it aims to stimulate discussion about the issues, what is working well locally and what could be improved.

There are 5 locations to choose from across Hertfordshire and more information can be viewed here.

Spaces are limited to 45 delegates per venue, so make sure you book your place early if you wish to attend, particularly for the hub on the 11th October where we have secured national expert Dr Claudia Banard who will be speaking about her work on neglect in affluent families.


My Teen Brain - new dates

My Teen Brain focuses on a key stage of brain development and shows how changes in the adolescent brain, in conjunction with experience and environment, can affect emotions, relationships, behaviours, sleep and attitudes to risk.  

The initiative aims to raise awareness and provide practical information and strategies to professionals. Through training and a range of resources, the initiative will enable them to support young people through this time of change.

Professionals working with either young adolescents (10-14) are invited to attend a free one-day multi-agency training which will look at changes to the adolescent brain, risks and behaviours and how the learning can help a strength based approach to practice.

Dates available are:

  • Tuesday 22nd October
  • Wednesday 13th November
  • Thursday 14th November
  • Wednesday 15th January
  • Thursday 16th January

You can book onto the free one-day training here.

More Information on the changes that take place in the teen brain is available on our dedicated website www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/myteenbrain.


My Baby's Brain - new dates

My Baby’s Brain: five to thrive

Hertfordshire County Council's My Baby's Brain: five to thrive one-day training aims to equip practitioners, who work with parents of children aged 0-3, with an understanding of how brain development happens in babies and children, and how they can help parents, children and babies to form strong attachments that will encourage healthy development.

Training is available on the following dates:

  • Thursday 3rd October 2019
  • Thursday 14th November 2019
  • Tuesday 3rd December 2019
  • Thursday 16th January 2020

If you work with parents of young children in Hertfordshire, and would like to book on please book here.

My Baby’s Brain: Vulnerability, Trauma and Recovery

My Baby's Brain recognises that parents need to be able to respond, physiologically engage, relax, play and talk. However many parents, for a range of reasons, are not able to do all or any of these activities.

This additional training day will primarily look at vulnerability, toxic stress, trauma and recovery but also incorporate elements of secondary trauma. This training is available for practitioners who work with parents of children aged 0-3 and have already completed My Baby’s Brain: five to thrive.

The next set of training dates available are:

  • Tuesday 15th October 2019
  • Thursday 7th November 2019
  • Thursday 23rd January 2020
  • Tuesday 4th February 2020

If you have already completed the one day My Baby’s Brain training and work with higher need families and would like to book on one of the above dates please book here.



Caring Dads Courses

Upcoming Caring Dads courses are as follows:

Stevenage 2019

Scheduled start Autumn / Winter 2019 term

Broxbourne / Hatfield 2019

Possible start early 2020 - depending on venue / funding

Please call 01727 854727 and ask for me if you wish to discuss the Caring Dads programme and suitability of possible referrals.

HACRO’s Caring Dads office is only open when I am working which is usually 2 days per week. I normally work Monday and Thursday but with bank holidays this can be variable. There is no ‘out of office’ email message facility. The office answerphone will announce when the office will next be open.

Best Regards, Joanna

Domestic Abuse Skills Training


Bespoke Training

The Families First Partnership Practice and Development Team are happy to be able to offer Bespoke Training to all Practitioners supporting Families through a Families First Assessment, be it as a Key Worker or TAF Member, in your own setting. They are able to offer Key Worker Lite Bites for those leading on FFA’s that would like a refresher on the process or support with EHM System, including managing Notifications, writing the Assessment, going through the TAF Review process, adding Case Notes and TAF Members and Closures. Everything a Key Worker needs to know. They also offer TAF Member Training for those that are not Key Workers but will benefit from knowing how to use the EHM System to evidence the support that they are offering the family including adding Case Notes and Documents, knowing how to access and send alerts and how to be a productive and active member of the Team around the Family and the Families First process. Additionally the team are here to support you with all of your FFA and EHM needs and we are happy to discuss the needs of your service and adapt any bespoke session to meet your needs, so please do contact your Your Local senior or Families First Coordinator to discuss how they can support you in your own setting at a date and time convenient to you. Please click her to request a bespoke training session Keyworker Litebite Training or TAF Member Training.


Handy Hints for EHM

  • Registration Forms

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

  • EHM How to Guides

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.

For example:                  

  1. 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
  2. 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.

  •   Updating Consent

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.

  • General Note Alerts

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

  • EHM Not Working

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.

  • EHM system support

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:

  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.

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Difference we're making

Evidencing the Impact of Early Help

FOR DOWNLOAD: FF logo colourAnalysis carried out in 2019 has suggested that:

• That Investment in Early help services continues to provide substantial cost avoidance for the public sector

• The smallest change to funding for Early Help services will have a significant impact on local authority spend associated with an increased social care demand.

What we did

54 cases were randomly selected to be audited, The criteria being that the families had to have been post intervention by at least 18 months. Out of the 54 cases only 27 contained enough data to enable a robust analysis. All the evidence within this report is based on these 27 cases.

View the full report

National Citizens Service news


This summer 650 young people from St Albans, Dacorum and Hertsmere are taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme with YC Hertfordshire.

Each young person will attend a four-week programme which will include two residential weeks and the planning and delivery of a Social Action Project.  Young people have the opportunity to learn about team work, social interaction, build resilience, learn new skills and prepare them for the transition into adulthood.

The NCS programme begins with a week’s residential to Staffordshire where young people have the opportunity to participate in a programme  including raft building, climbing, caving, high ropes and a 10km expedition while living in a tent for the week.

Henry (15) said: “The rafting was the best, we all worked together and leant how to tie reef knots.

The second week is a residential at the University of Hertfordshire where the young people are able to experience life as a student on a university campus. A varied programme includes an employability day which consists of attending a variety of workshops with employers to learn about employability skills, mental health and sexual health workshops, deaf awareness and first aid training. Team building activities are organised for the evenings.

The final two weeks of the programme are where young people undertake a social action project in their local community. They are responsible for identifying local worthwhile community causes and then planning and carrying out improvements. These have included work at a donkey sanctuary, running a bake sale in the town centre to raise money for a mental health charity, adapting and recording a song which represents aspects of mental health, creating an ECO garden for a local primary school, litter picking, helping at a retirement home as well as supporting at a fun day for low income families.

Feedback from the young people has been positive:

I haven’t spoken to many people before, I have made new friends.” Holly (16)

 “The Youth Worker are great, I can relate to them and just chat to them.” Asma (16)

For more information visit www.ychertfordshire.org

Fit Fed & Read Summer 2019

Throughout the summer holidays The Herts Sports Partnership (HSP) – based at the University of Hertfordshire – delivered a holiday activities programme with a difference, for children from disadvantaged families across the county.

The Partnership’s award-winning Fit, Fed and Read programme seeks to address the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation experienced by some of Hertfordshire’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, aged 7-12yrs.

The Hertfordshire take on the National Street Games Fit and Fed campaign was held at Fire stations across the 10 Districts and Boroughs and with the support of the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hertfordshire Libraries, Hertfordshire Constabulary, and Herts Catering Ltd – the principal supplier of school meals in the county – provided a programme of sport and activities, fun literacy and education sessions and a nutritious lunch as part of a programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

The programme is offered free of charge to local youngsters that are eligible for free school meals and was attended by nearly 200 children with over 1600 attendances over the summer.

HSP Deputy Director, Jane Shewring said:

“We are delighted to be able to offer our Fit, Fed and Read programme across the county. Whilst for most of our young people, the summer holidays can be a time to enjoy life with family and friends, partake in overseas holidays and new experiences, for others it can be a rather miserable existence.

Too many of our young people are left vulnerable and isolated, when the support of their school is removed. Research shows that the intellectual, emotional and physical development of some of those young people can be thwarted as a result and holiday hunger – often linked to in-work poverty – is a real issue within some of our families

With the support of the National Lottery players and our key partner organisations, we can offer these programmes across Hertfordshire and with it some fantastic opportunities for local youngsters.”

Fit Fed & Read is funded to run each Easter and Summer holidays for the next three years with the Easter 2020 projects due to commence 6th April 2020. HSP urge any families, or family support services, that may be interested in finding out more to contact them at fitfedandread@herts.ac.uk or 01707 284229.

News from the Watford and Three River IFST summer fete

On 15th August Watford and Three Rivers IFST held a summer fete to raise money for Watford’s Peace Hospice.

We had great weather, lots of lovely donations and a lot of support from other services, which all added up to a lovely afternoon for the families. We had stalls, games, prizes, crafts, face painting, a BBQ and music and dancing!

We would like to thank MIND, Three Rivers Community Safety Team, ASCEND, South Oxhey Library, Watford and Three Rivers Family Centre and Health Visiting teams, Watford and Three Rivers assessment and locality teams, the DJ, Sainsburys, Homestart, Mothercare and the fire engine service for all their support.

We are really pleased to share that we have raised £600 for the Peace Hospice and we look forward to next years fete!

Local area news

St Albans and Dacorum : IFST Networking Event

Please come along to the IFST networking event for St Albans and Dacorum, which now has a guest speaker from Change, Grow, Live. A support group for clients with drugs and alcohol problems.

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

Home-Start Volunteers needed!

HS Volunteers

Full flyer available here

Home-Start Annual Conference

Full flyer available here

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