Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander today announced a massive expansion of the Coalition Government’s ground-breaking Troubled Families programme, investing an additional £200 million to start to extend intensive help to 400,000 high risk families to get to grips with their problems before they spiral out of control.
The Troubled Families programme works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that the children attend school, appointments are met and appropriate services are accessed. Crucially, all of the public services involved with members of a family are coordinated and the demand on them reduced.
A one-off average investment of £4,500 in work with each family is expected to reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems, by supporting families to access work, reducing anti-social behaviour, poor school attendance and criminality.
Commenting, Danny Alexander said:
“Reforming how services are delivered is going to be a central part of this week’s Spending Round. The Troubled Families programme is a radical example of how, by spending a bit more in certain areas, we can save much more in others and by doing so create a stronger economy and a fairer society. Extending this intensive help to 400,000 more families will enable us to tackle problems such as truancy, anti-social behaviour and crime. The government is committing £200 million in funding in 2015/16 and for every £4,500 spent on a family, we can reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems by reducing the burden on the police, health and social services.“
Head of the Troubled Families programme, Louise Casey said:
"It is great news that the momentum we have built up on the Troubled Families programme can continue by extending the approach to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, where their children are not in school or are at risk of being taken into care. This new programme will enable us to help earlier in families' lives to change them for the better."
The announcement was made on a visit to Wandsworth’s multi-agency Family Recovery Project, which today announced that it has turned around nearly a third of its troubled families, saving the taxpayer roughly £29,000 per troubled family per year.