Government confirms one-year, £165m extension to Troubled Families

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The Troubled Families programme – credited with helping almost 300,000 families living in challenging circumstances – has been given a one-year reprieve after the government confirmed a £165 million funding package.

Troubled Families is a programme of targeted intervention for families with multiple problems, including crime, anti-social behaviour, truancy from school, unemployment, mental health problems and domestic abuse.

The programme has run since 2015 and was due to end in March. However, this month ministers at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) confirmed that funding of £165 million is to be made available to extended the initiative until March 2021.

The programme is credited with achieving a one-third reduction in the proportion of children going into care and has reached 297,733 families since 2015, helping almost 27,000 adults off benefits, according to the government’s evaluation (2019).

Families on the programme are three times more likely to be persistently absent from school than the general population. However, the evaluation found that Troubled Families led to improved relationships with schools, health and police in the five case study areas and that 55 per cent of the keyworkers said they were helping families to improve school attendance, although evidence showing improved school attendance is still limited.

The 2018 Safeguarding Pressures Phase 6 report by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services stressed the importance of Troubled Families funding to local authorities.

It states: “Benefits from the programme include enabling better joint working or co-location with other professionals and information sharing (and) the ability to fund specific roles and approaches such as family support workers.”

During the 2019 general election campaign, the Conservative Party pledged to develop “family hubs” to offer vulnerable families intensive support to help care for their children through to adulthood.

  • National evaluation of the Troubled Families Programme 2015 to 2020, MHCLG, March 2019: http://bit.ly/2QUYZK2


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