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Hertfordshire County Council

Families First Assessment is our Early Help assessment tool. The Early Help Module (EHM) is a multi-agency case recording and management system that we use for Families First Assessment case work. 

These have replaced Family CAF and eCAF system which are no longer in use.

Families First Assessment (FFA) is used by practitioners who work with children, young people, parents and carers. It's used to identify needs, and to organise the right support and services to address those needs at an early stage. The FFA process allows different agencies and services to share information and work together in a coordinated way. FFAs are voluntary, and require consent from parents or carers before they can begin.

The FFA process is designed to address needs which require a multi-agency response. FFA can and should be started by any practitioner who has identified additional needs amongst any of the children, young people or families that they work with. The FFA process uses a "whole family" approach, which allows everyone's needs in the family to be taken into account, in order to make a lasting difference.

The Families First Interactive Process Map tells you more about the process.

Starting a Families First Assessment

If you're a practitioner and need to use the Early Help Module (EHM) system, you'll need to register by filling in a new EHM user form. You must have completed EHM system training before you can use the system.

Once you receive confirmation that you've been registered, you can fill in a Families First Assessment Family registration form for the family you wish to assess.

Completed, forms should be sent to

Local advice, guidance and practice support for practitioners

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

Contact your local Senior or Families First Coordinators if you're experiencing any difficulties or require information, advice, guidance and practice support on Families First processes, tools and Early Help Module system.

Families First EHM training

EHM system support

If you have any queries or need support with the Early Help Module system,  contact your local Senior or Families First Coordinators or Families First Helpdesk:


Phone:  01438 737575


FFA Personalised Commissioning

Personalised Commissioning is a mechanism for providing additional support for children, young people and families. It provides a small one off funding for services tailored to the needs of individuals in a quick and flexible way. This allows children, young people and families to access services suited to them, rather than having to fit in with existing services.

What can be requested?

Personalised Commissioning can be used to purchase goods or services which meet a need identified through the Families First Assessment process. These goods and services should support the child, young person or family to achieve the outcomes listed in the Team Around the Family delivery plan.

Who can make a request?

Only Keyworkers for active FFAs can make requests for Personalised Commissioning.

How can I make a request?

Requests are made through the EHM system. Once assessments, TAF meeting and action plans have been completed, you'll be able to access an application form on the EHM system

Find out more with our Personalised Commissioning Factsheet.

If you have any questions regarding Personalised Commissioning, please contact your local Senior or Families First Coordinators or Families First Helpdesk:


If you have any safeguarding concerns about a child or young person, use the following numbers:

  • Police: 999
  • Children's Services (including out of hours): 0300 123 4043
  • Child Abuse Investigation Unit: via 101. This is a specialist team within the police with countywide responsibility for undertaking child protection investigations.

For further safeguarding information, visit the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children's Board.