The Government has chosen North Yorkshire County Council to be an early starter in an expanded Troubled Families Programme due to the success and the speed with which it is transforming the lives of troubled families.
The authority believes it is on course to have worked with all of the 845 families requiring support through the programme in North Yorkshire by the end of the year and to have turned around the majority.
Indeed North Yorkshire ranks among the top ten per cent of authorities in the country and 2nd among its statistical neighbours for the success of its Troubled Families programme, known locally as ‘Developing Stronger Families’.
Currently 61 per cent of hardest-to-help families identified under the programme have been turned around and the county council believes this figure will have risen to 70 per cent by the end of this month.
Louise Casey, director general of the Troubled Families Programme nationally, wrote a personal note in a letter about the expanded programme to the authority’s chief executive, Richard Flinton, congratulating North Yorkshire for the effectiveness of its work and as a beacon of good practice.
The Troubled Families programme was initially designed to change the repeating generational patterns of poor parenting, abuse, violence, drug use, anti-social behaviour and crime in the 120,000 most troubled families in the UK..
The government is now providing £200m to build on the success of the current programme and expand the scheme as part of a five-year plan to improve the lives of an additional 400,000 families that are vulnerable to truancy, anti-social behaviour and crime, in partnership with councils from 2015/16.
Today it has been announced that the top 50 performing authorities under the scheme have been chosen by the government to be ‘early starters’ this year.
The progress of North Yorkshire’s ‘Developing Stronger Families’ programme means that 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; and the costs to local public services and burden on the taxpayer are being reduced too.
As well as expanding from working with school-age children to those under five, the wider programme will also have a particular focus on improving poor health, which new data published today highlights is a particular problem in troubled families, with 71% having a physical health problem and 46% a mental health concern.
An additional 2,830 families in North Yorkshire will be worked with under the expanded scheme.
While retaining its focus on reducing truancy, crime and anti-social behaviour, the expanded programme will apply this approach to a larger group of families with a wider set of problems including domestic violence, debt and children at risk of being taken into care.
The programme will also continue to prioritise getting adults into work, with the Department for Work and Pensions providing 300 specialist troubled families employment advisers who will also work with young people at risk of becoming unemployed.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: The Troubled Families programme in North Yorkshire has turned around the lives of 516 families in the county since 2012, saving taxpayers money and getting kids back in school, youth crime and anti-social behaviour cut and adults better able to work.
Because the council has made so much progress in the past two years, they are now able to work with even more families and help younger children get a better start in life. I am delighted that that work will now begin in [North Yorkshire in the next few months as it is one of the 50 best performing areas in the country.
North Yorkshire had already decided to use the strategy long-term as a model for transforming the day-to-day living of the most challenging and complex households across the county.
County Councillor Tony Hall, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services said: We are more than happy to be chosen to be an early starter in the Government’s expanded programme.
North Yorkshire has every confidence in the effectiveness of the strategy; the highly targeted approach with one family, one plan and one worker, is proving highly successful.
This success is a tribute to the continuing dedication of our front-line workers to challenge and support families, as well as to our work with a range of partners on key issues.
This is not a nine-to-five job for our intervention workers, because families need support at weekends and evenings, the times when issues come to a head. No two days are the same in the mission to support families to do things for themselves, to bring about positive change and to maintain that change.