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Hertfordshire County Council
Families First logo - Early help, brighter futures.

Families First

Services that work together to support families who need extra help


There are 2 types of help available:

Self-help parenting advice – this website shows you local services and online advice to meet your needs.

Ask for support – a professional can find out about your family's individual needs then co-ordinate support for you, which might include a Families First assessment.


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Families First is the term used in Hertfordshire for services that work together to support families who need extra help. These are also known as early help services.

We all experience difficulties at some point. Families First can help you find early help and information to prevent issues from getting worse.

If you need more help than your usual support network - for example your health visitor, school, doctor or family centre - we can work with you and your family to create a package of support. Ask for support.

Who is it for?

Families First is available to all Hertfordshire families with children under 18 (25 if they have a learning need or disability).

Issues we can help with:

  • parenting
  • mental and physical health problems
  • drug or alcohol dependency
  • domestic abuse
  • school related concerns – such as your child is not attending school
  • debt problems
  • risk of becoming homeless.



Including free early education, family centres, parental support and our directory of online and in-person parenting courses.

Health in Herts has advice on diet and exercise, mental health, quitting smoking and dealing with alcohol or drug dependency.

Just Talk Herts can signpost you to support, whether it's for you or your child.

Face-to-face and online help for your relationship with your partner or ex-partner.

If you arrange for someone else to care for your children for over 28 days, you need to let us know. This is known as private fostering.

Places to go for advice, guidance and support especially aimed at dads

Services for Young People has a lot of links and info, including tips for staying safe, who you can talk to for advice, help with bullying and how to report a problem.

Herts Sunflower offer online advice and contact details if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse.

Find out what benefits you can get, how to manage debt and where to go for advice.

Support for young people who look after someone in their family, as well as parents who care for someone with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Information, advice and support for young people.


To see the full range of local services
available for children, young people and adults,
visit the Families First Directory.

Ask for support

If you feel your family might benefit from some support, there are two ways to get in touch with a Families First professional:

1. Contact a professional who already works with your family

For example a health visitor, family support worker, teacher or school, youth worker, family centre or Carers in Herts.

They can:

  • give you advice
  • signpost you to helpful organisations
  • see if a Families First assessment could help.


Families First assessments

Families First professionals can complete an assessment to get a snap shot of:

  • your family's current circumstances and support needs
  • past events that have impacted on your lives.

After completing an assessment, they will arrange a Team Around the Family meeting, where any professionals who may be able to help will:

  • discuss your needs and any outcomes you'd like to achieve
  • create an action plan.

Professionals area.

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