Plymouth praised for Families with a Future programme

Plymouth has been praised for the work that has been done locally to ‘turn around’ the lives of families who need additional support, as the latest results are published.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published the latest figures for the national ‘Troubled Families’ programme. Plymouth was one of a number of areas chosen by the Government in 2012 to help roll out the programme, known locally as ‘Families with a Future’.

According to the latest figures up to May 2015, Plymouth has helped 745 local families through the programme. Phase 1 is now complete and the programme is set to triple with a new target of helping 2,420 families in the city over the next five years as part of phase 2 of the scheme.

Head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme Louise Casey said: “It’s fantastic news that the Plymouth team has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families in the city. That’s 745 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut, and in 76 of these homes an adult has moved off benefits and into work. The council and key workers deserve enormous credit but most of all I want to congratulate the families themselves who have had the courage to change and give their children a better chance in life.”

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are very pleased with the success of the Families with a Future programme, but the Council could not have done this without the support of other local agencies including the NHS and voluntary sector.

“Wrapping services around families is helping them towards a better future, and is demonstrating a more cost-effective approach. Increasing partnership working city wide to meet the needs of families is crucial for continued success.

“It also fits with the Council’s ‘Early Help’ agenda, which aims to provide intervention, care and support at the earliest point to help children and prevent their needs escalating. This can only be done through increased communication about knowledge of the child between agencies, so all local organisations need to be signed up to it.”

In addition to giving people a better chance in life, ‘Families with a Future’ also aims to save taxpayers money in the long term. This is because the programme helps people to become more independent, get back into work and less likely to commit crime. Prior to being involved with the Families with the Future scheme, it is estimated that the families involved would cost the taxpayer an average of £75,000 per year.

The programme is deemed a success if it is demonstrated that significant and sustained progress and continuous employment with families. To be eligible for the new expanded programme, each family must have at least two of the following six problems:

1. Parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
2. Children who have not been attending school regularly
3. Children who need help: children of all ages, who need help, are identified as in need or are subject to a Child Protection Plan
4. Adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness
5. Families affected by domestic violence and abuse
6. Parents or children with a range of health problems.