Case study

Troubled families: Bristol

Progress in Bristol helping troubled families turn their lives around.


The family

Single mum and 2 children

The situation

An unemployed single mum who was struggling with 2 kids who were out of control, not attending school and committing anti-social behaviour. The mum was suffering from depression and the police were regularly called out to the house by neighbours who could hear the son, who was often violent to his mum, smashing up the house. The mum struggled with parenting and the family was often abusive to the many different services who tried to help them. Mum was also in debt. The son had 3 Youth Referral Orders for criminal damage, assault and public order offences, was excluded from mainstream school and was associating with a well-known gang. The younger daughter was also not attending school regularly and had begun committing minor acts of anti-social behaviour.

Work with the family and results

The family intervention worker explained the consequences of the family not working with her to change their ways, for example it could mean court action for non attendance at school, or anti-social behaviour orders. She worked directly with the mum on better parenting and made sure that mum got help with her depression, her financial situation and began talking to her about getting a job.

The worker realised the son was also suffering from mental health problems and got him the help he needed from children’s mental health services. The relationship strengthened between the family worker and the son and he is now fully enrolled on an education course and since then there have been no more incidents of anti-social behaviour. His relationship with his mum has improved greatly and the domestic violence incidents have stopped.

The daughter also benefited from her mum’s improved parenting skills as she was given routines and boundaries at home. Her school attendance is currently at 89% and her anti-social behaviour has also stopped.

Progress turning troubled families’ lives around in Bristol

The chart below shows progress made in Bristol as of March 2014.

Total number of families 1355
Number of families identified as at end of March 2014 1355
Number of families worked with as at end of March 2014 1355
Families turned around as at end of February 2014 1012
Published 1 May 2014