Prime minister pleased as programme helps 40,000 ‘troubled families’
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities
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David Cameron has hailed the news that the government's troubled families programme has helped almost 40,000 households.
According to stats from the Department for Communities and Local Government, 39,480 "hard to help" families have had their lives "turned around" since the programme began, with children taken off of the streets and put back into school and people helped into work.
With the government estimating that each troubled family costs the taxpayer an average of £75,000, the programme could already be saving the country £3 billion a year.
The prime minister said: "Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan - it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country."
Two years ago, the Tory-led coalition set out to address the behaviour of an identified 120,000 troubled families in England.
Under the programme, one dedictated team works with a whole family in a coordinated way, rather than different services reacting to individual problems.
Today's DCLG figures show that local authorities have identified more than 111,000 families for help, of which 97,000 are now being actively worked with under the programme.
Some areas have now turned around three-quarters of their troubled families or more. Wakefield has already helped over 85% of its targeted families, Leicestershire 78% and Bristol 75%.
Anne Longfield OBE, chief executive of 4Children, said the programme's progress was "good news" but warned: "However, it also means that there are still 80,000 families who are yet to turn their problems around and there are significant disparities in success between local areas.
"Some areas are not yet joining their services together to provide the intensive support needed. This will be even more important when the programme expands to a further 400,000 families from 2015/ 16.”
The government defines troubled families as those who:
- Are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour.
- Have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting.
- Have an adult on out-of-work benefits.
- Cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems.
Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: "The troubled families programme is good for the economy as it reduces the £9 billion annual cost to the taxpayer and helps people back into work. It also improves life for communities which see less crime and anti-social behaviour and, most importantly, supports families who get a chance to have a brighter future.
"Progress is being made in all corners of the country and I’m proud that this government is taking action to help change the lives of the families most in need."