Family support ‘ahead of game’

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Lincolnshire is “ahead of the game” when it comes to supporting troubled families.

The county has around 1,370 families who are labelled “troubled” by the Government’s Troubled Families Unit, led by “tsar” Louise Casey.

The unit has published a report stating that successful intervention by local authorities is key to achieving good results with troubled families and reducing their involvement in crime, anti-social behaviour and issues such as truancy.

Lincolnshire County Council’s Families Working Together programme has been running 18 months and has already offered targeted support to almost 100 families to help them turn their lives around, producing estimated savings of more than £1.2million.

The report recommends several key features it says underpin successful intervention, including dedicated key workers for families, practical “hands-on” support, a constantly challenging approach and considering the needs of the whole family – features that are already embedded in Lincolnshire’s approach.

Much of the work started as family intervention services initiated by district councils in Lincolnshire, focused on youth crime and housing issues.

Coun Patricial Bradwell, executive councillor for children’s services, said: “It’s good to see we are ahead of the game. Families with complex needs have been supported for the past 18 months to enjoy a much better quality of life, with improvements to their health, employment and educational prospects.

“There has even been a welcome reduction in the negative effect some families have on their wider communities.”

Rachel North, chairman of the Families Working Together Steering Group, added: “The evidence so far demonstrates success across a range of indicators over and above the national averages highlighted in the Government’s report.

“Our goal now is to replicate that success with a much larger number of families.”