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Half way through the Troubled Families Programme, the Government has claimed it is on track to change the lives of 120,000 families by 2015.
Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed 22,000 families were successfully helped to turn around their lives and a further 62,000 are continuing to receive support.
Areas of improvement highlighted in the half way review include getting more children back into school and a significant decrease in anti-social behaviour.
Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said: “I am delighted that our programme is already helping half of our target of 120,000 troubled families at its mid-way stage. Councils are making great strides in a very short space of time, dealing with families that have often had problems and created serious issues in their communities for generations. These results show that these problems can be dealt with through a no nonsense and common sense approach, bringing down costs to the taxpayer at the same time.”
The Government created the Troubled Families Programme in 2011. Troubled families are defined as those involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour, if they have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting and if an adult in the family is on out-of-work benefits.
Troubled families cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems - an estimated average of £75,000 per year So far figures have shown over 90,000 families have been identified to benefit from the programme, the equivalent to three-quarters of the Government’s ambition of 120,000 homes.
Local authorities are providing a joined up service to help all aspects of a family’s problems by appointing a key worker to work intensively with all family members. It is hoped this service will reduce the cost troubled families indirectly cause the tax payer from anti-social behaviour and complex issues.
Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children said: “These new figures on the number of families who are turning around their problems are encouraging. However this is a long journey for many troubled families and we know that families in some areas are receiving more effective support than others. Some areas are making good progress while others are yet to help any families to successfully 'turn around.'
“Support is effective when services and professionals work together to provide the joined-up and personalised support that families need. That means family support teams, social services, health, housing and Job Centre Plus working together relentlessly to help families to flourish.
“Children’s Centres have enormous expertise in supporting disadvantaged families, so it is worrying that 4Children's Children’s Centre Census 2013 shows that over half have not been asked to support their local Troubled Families programme. Where professionals are not working together, public money is being wasted and families are not getting the joined-up help they need.
“We welcome plans to extend the programme to a broader number of families. It is only by getting support to families before they reach the point of crisis that we can begin to move towards prevention rather than cure society. That’s when we will really start to reap rewards, both for families and for the public purse.”
The Government pledged to help 120,000 families in England turn their lives around by 2015 and has invested £448m into the programme.
The programme has also helped over 1,400 parents from the most troubled families get back into continuous work.
Head of the Troubled Families programme, Louise Casey said: “This programme is getting to grips with families who for too long have been have been allowed to be caught up in a cycle of despair. These results show that a tough, intensive but supportive approach has a big impact; giving hope and opportunity to the families and respite to the communities around them.”
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “I am pleased to see that the Troubled Families programme is delivering results and helping thousands of people turn their lives around. This radical programme demonstrates how, by spending a bit more in certain areas, we can save much more in others and by doing so create a stronger economy and a fairer society.”