Senate reinforces its commitment to supporting Hampshire's troubled families
Friday, 15 February 2013
Members of the Hampshire Senate have given their top-level backing to a multi-agency scheme to improve the lives of almost 1,600 troubled Hampshire families by 2015, which has already begun to provide help to hundreds of vulnerable families.
At its latest meeting (13 February), the Senate heard how as part of the Government's three year Troubled Families Programme, some 1,600 families across Hampshire, will be helped over the next three years. Families are characterised by there being no adult in the family in work, children not regularly attending school and family members involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. It is estimated that these families cost the public purse on average £75,000 each, per year and they often have a detrimental effect in their local communities.
By using a multi-agency approach to provide early help, and by more effectively coordinating work of a number of public sector and voluntary groups, the aim is to provide better prospects and lasting positive outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in communities, while delivering financial savings to the public purse.
The Hampshire Senate agreed to make this scheme a priority and to commit its member organisations to working in a more joined-up and coordinated way. This will be crucial towards meeting the key objectives of the scheme; to tackle worklessness, to increase school attendance and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
In the first year of the Hampshire programme, around 530 families have been identified and so far, plans to support around 300 entire families have been developed which will allow partner organisations to build on their already close working arrangements and agree key steps to make a lasting difference to the identified families. The programme aims to support a further 700 families in the second year.
Chairman of the Hampshire Senate, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: "No one organisation alone can provide all the help that these families need. By working together more effectively with our partners within the Hampshire Senate and our schools, we can help to change the lives of these very troubled families and improve their futures in our communities.
"It is recognised that there will be challenges along the way, particularly when it comes to engaging with families who have resisted offers of early help in the past. However, it is crucial that we provide effective, sustained and relentless leadership in this difficult area. With the right commitment and a focused collaborative approach, based on early and co-ordinated intervention, we will be much better positioned to improve the lives of the families involved, and the communities that they call home. By engaging families who need early help to avoid escalating problems, this will help to reduce the need for other agencies to assist at a later date to address more serious problems. This will also mean that we can help avoid significant costs to public funds in the longer term."