Together, the best in each of us
enriches all of us

There’s two of us, Francine (left) and Lesley (right) and between us we have a wealth of experience in working with families and as parents we are experts by experience. Our involvement in counselling and education, including time working with children at high risk of exclusion from school, and with additional needs, has enabled us to develop evidence-based, supportive, and therapeutic parenting programmes, accredited with the CANparent quality mark –  the only quality mark that covers the work of all providers of universal parenting classes. We work hard to create a safe, judgement free environment to enable family diversity to be acknowledged and validated.  

A bit about us

We are compassionate, respectful qualified facilitators and pride ourselves on sharing our knowledge with clarity, sensitivity and energy, mixed with an infectious sense of fun.

Our courses are free to Hertfordshire parents. We provide comprehensive, confidential monitoring and evaluation reports, and receive outstanding feedback from parents for every course we deliver.

We are qualified in PTLL’s (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) level 3 and 4, have Level 4 City and Guilds Working with Parents, and are qualified sleep therapists with the Children’s Sleep Charity.

We personally facilitate all parenting courses and professional training and follow the Family Partnership Model in working with parents.

We each have over 30 years of personal and professional experience in the world of SEND.

The story so far…

2006 Francine, Lesley and Jane Petrie had an idea…
2007 Families in Focus became a Community Interest Company.
Courses were researched, developed and delivered to the first parents
2009 Our Working for Parents Level 4 was delivered across Herts Jane left to pursue a new path
2011 We developed and researched Parenting with Empathy
2012 Dr Amanda Gummer, Founder of the Good Play Guide joined as the third director
2013 Families in Focus was named as Hertfordshire County Council’s preferred provider for courses through TPF
2014 National Lottery Good Causes funding was secured for us to run Parent Network for three years
2016 We secured funding with Children in Need for our newly developed Siblings First programme to run for three years
2017 We gained our Sleep Trainers qualification with The Children’s Sleep Charity
We held a PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance) conference
2018 Our funding from The National Lottery for Parent Network was granted for a further five years
2019 We ran a second PDA conference
We added anxiety and suicide training to our services
2020 Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we moved all of our services online so that we could continue to support parents in a safe environment.
FiF Arms, our weekly SEND social launched via Zoom

Parent Network will expand to include Early Years, Teens and Let’s Put the Kettle on groups each month

2021 Researched and developed the Managing Anxiety in children course
2022 Undertook additional training with The Sleep Charity to enable us to train our team on sleep issues.
2023 Produced a research paper on: Moving in-person family support services online during Covid 19. A review of parenting support provision from Families in Focus during the lockdowns and the implications for best practice in a post-pandemic world.
Families in Focus ranked number one provider for SEND parenting courses by Hertfordshire Targeted Parenting Fund Commissioning Team.

2024 NEW! Parenting with Empathy project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund

As a mother of a son with additional needs I am passionate about bringing parents together and creating a safe space for them, enabling them to help their families flourish.


As a parent I realised life can be a bit like a rollercoaster – the highs and the lows and never knowing quite what’s around the next corner! By bringing all of our personal parenting experience and our professional knowledge together to develop our courses, our intention is to work in the best way we can to offer parents tools to inspire and encourage all family members to reach their full potential.