Hundreds of troubled families in Wirral have 'lives turned around' by new Government programme (From Wirral Globe)
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Hundreds of troubled families in Wirral have 'lives turned around' by new Government programme
THE lives of hundreds families in Wirral have been "turned around" in just 15 months, according to the Government.
The "Troubled Families" programme is reported to have successfully helped 200 of the borough's toughest-to-tackle households.
The figures are based on new data that shows:
- Children are back in school where they were previously playing truant or excluded.
- High levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour are down.
- Adults are getting off benefits and into work.
- Costs to public services are being reduced.
The radical programme was introduced shortly after the summer riots of 2011, when the Government said there were too many families who were “not engaged with the system.”
David Cameron praised the work of councils and the Department for Communities and Local Government in implementing the scheme and said the results showed no family was beyond help.
The Prime Minister said: “I am determined that we help people to get on in life including those families where things may be going wrong.
"For some, that starts with attending school every day, staying out of trouble with the police and taking practical steps towards work, just as other families do.
“Every month, more and more of the most troubled families are getting help to deal with these issues head-on.
"That is good for those families, their community and our country as a whole.”
The criteria for being classed as a “troubled family” includes those facing problems such as unemployment, criminal activity, anti-social behaviour and poor school attendance.
Ministers set a national target to move 120,000 families from high levels of need to a point where parents are ready to work and where children are in education, employment or training.
Key workers are assigned to help the families and once identified, participation in the project is mandatory - refusal can be punished through sanctions such as eviciton or benefit cuts.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “These figures show that our no-nonsense and common sense approach is changing these families for the better and benefiting the whole community.
"Considering the often longstanding and deep-seated nature of these families’ problems, it is a huge achievement to have turned so many around in such a short space of time.
“And instead of several costly services working with the same family but failing to solve the underlying problems, this approach is both more effective for the family and cheaper too.”
The efforts are being spearheaded by Government official Louise Casey - labelled the 'Broken Britain' tsar - who in 2003 led Labour’s anti-social behaviour unit.
Now head of the Troubled Families programme, Ms Casey said: “Councils deserve credit for taking up the challenge of the Troubled Families programme and achieving results so quickly.
“By dealing with all the family members and all of their problems in a tough and intensive way we are finally getting to grips with problems which may have persisted for generations, giving hope to people who have often been failed in the past and relief for the communities that suffered the effects of their behaviour.”
Interviewed by the BBC in January, Ms Casey conceded some families needed "a very big stick", such as the threat of eviction or anti-social behaviour orders "or other tools of criminal justice".
Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a "payment-by-results" basis for "turning around" troubled families.
The Government has provided a £448m three-year budget for the scheme.
Successful delivery of the project has the potential to earn Wirral Council £3.3m.
The latest figures on progress within the first 15 months of the programme have been collated from latest quarterly returns submitted from all 152 upper-tier local authorities in England in July of this year.
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