Statement: Supporting Troubled Families
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Commenting on the Department for Communities and Local Government's (DCLG) release of the latest progress figures for Supporting (Troubled) Families, Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children's Services at Hampshire County Council said:
"We've continued the good progress made in Hampshire. Just last month, Ofsted inspectors said our programme is well-targeted, well-structured and responsive to the needs of families and that early signs showed it is making a real difference for many families which leads to improved outcomes for children. Since the start of our programme we have met DCLG's target for identifying families, and are currently working with 1,100 families across the county. Of these nearly 400 have shown significant improvements in some of the key areas against which we are measuring success - children attending school regularly; parent and young adults in jobs or training; lower levels of crime and anti social behaviour; and overall families working better as a unit, able to look after and support each other. Of the 400 positive family outcomes, we have helped more than 50 adults into or back into employment or training, which is one of the highest figures nationally. Given that such families have each been costing an average of £75,000 per year the avoided recurring costs to the public purse are considerable.
"The figures for Hampshire demonstrate there is great momentum behind the programme and this is realising positive results. I am aware that it appears that some authority areas are seeing better results than in Hampshire but this is only a partial picture. For the most part these were the areas that were selected to run pilot schemes and so their programmes have been running for longer than other local authorities, higher figures therefore would be expected.
"It is worth noting that many families we are working with have multiple and complex problems which may include adults out of work, family members involved in crime and antisocial behaviour, issues with alcohol/substance misuse, violence in the home, mental and physical health issues and children not attending school regularly. With many of the families there is no 'quick fix' and it takes some time to get positive outcomes.
"The approach Hampshire is adopting to support them is two-fold - an intensive family support service that will benefit families in the greatest need led by a key worker, and less intensive solutions which involve local agencies working in a more co-ordinated way with families. Support varies from family to family according to need and the progress that has been made in Hampshire since the programme started in Hampshire is very encouraging.
"While the progress is good news, it is important to recognise that this is a very challenging programme and we must not be complacent. We will continue to work closely with our partners to improve co-ordination to help families, with complex and multiple problems, to be less dependent on public services and benefits."