Hampshire’s Supporting Troubled Families programme is backed by Government funding and aims to transform the lives of at least 1,600 families over the next three years.
The programme is already working with around 500 families, many of whom have multiple and complex problems. These include adults out of work, family members involved in crime and anti-social behaviour, issues with substance misuse/alcohol, and children not attending school regularly. The problems do not only affect the families themselves, they can also impact on the communities in which the families live so the programme, which encourages families to turn their lives around, will benefit everyone.
The Hampshire programme brings together representatives from the County Council, 11 district and borough councils, Police, prison and probation services, youth offending teams, health services, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, the voluntary sector, and the Department for Work and Pensions, and is about working together more effectively at the family level.
The programme involves the whole family not just the children or a single family member. The aim is to provide early practical help to stop problems escalating. This work will strengthen a family’s ability to provide care and support and to look after each other.
There are two key approaches to the programme. The first is that local agencies will work in a much more co-ordinated way with families around a single family plan. Secondly, for those families in the greatest need, there is an Intensive Support Service led by a family support worker.
The support will vary from family to family according to their needs. The family support worker, for example, will deliver crucial parenting support, helping families establish daily routines which ensure children attend school regularly, while helping parents get back into work and enabling them to manage their household budgets more effectively.
The programme provides a unique opportunity for the public and voluntary sectors to join forces to provide practical help to some of the most vulnerable families and communities in the county.
The anticipated results will be families working better as a unit, with children attending school regularly, parents in jobs or training, lower levels of crime and anti-social behaviour and, overall, healthier, happier and stronger communities.
“Many families tell us that they know help is available, but say that trying to get the right help, from the right organisation at the right time can be difficult and sometimes confusing.
My aim is not just to fix problems, but to help families discover their own abilities, and become more independent.
I will get to know the family and help to co-ordinate support services for them. We will develop a single family plan together which sets out clearly the help they can expect to get from all the agencies involved and what we expect from the family.
I could be working with a family for anything from a few months to a year and beyond.”