Troubled families get £4.5m lifeline

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TROUBLED families in Derbyshire are set to get a multi-million pound cash boost to help turn their lives around.

Derbyshire County Council has approved plans which will see up to £4,000 spent on each family.

In a bid to reduce youth offending, anti-social behaviour, improve school attendance and increase the numbers of people in work, 1,355 families in the county will receive support.

Councillor Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for young people, said: “We’re already working with many troubled families across Derbyshire and are pleased to receive more money to extend our work.

“This scheme aims to make a difference to everyone living in our communities by improving the quality of life of some of our most troubled and difficult families.”

At a meeting on Tuesday councillors backed proposals to implement the initiative across the county from June.

The authority will get around £4.5million of Government investment to carry out the work over a three year period.

A troubled families co-ordinator, who will be responsible for managing the programme, will receive £87,500 a year for three years.

The £4,000 per family from Government funding is around 40 per cent of the total cost of working with a family facing multiple problems. Local authorities and their partners are to provide the remaining 60 per cent of funding from existing resources.

The money will pay for a range of services including parenting courses, developing an action plans and providing job training. The council says that in the long term the scheme will help reduce the cost to the public purse.

Troubled families make up less than one per cent of the population yet cost the economy over £8 billion a year and are likely to make more demands on local services.

Cllr Lewis added: “We work alongside professionals from partner agencies, and the voluntary sector to support and provide services for families and children to meet their particular needs so they become better and more successful and can play a part in local community life.”

The Government defines “troubled families” as having five of seven characteristics. These are:

l No-one in the family is in work.

l They live in poor or overcrowded housing.

l No parent has any qualifications.

l The mother has mental health problems.

l At least one parent has a long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

l A low income.

l An inability to afford several food or clothing items.