Case study

Troubled families: Leicestershire

Progress in Leicestershire helping troubled families turn their lives around.

Leicestershire map

The family

Single mum with 4 sons, aged between 7 to 16.

The situation

Mum had been out of work and on benefits for over 15 years. She had a number of debts that were out of control and the father of her children was in prison. Her children were not attending school regularly and when they did they were often disruptive and were regularly abusive and violent to each other in the home. Mum had physical illness which was quite visible and had a significant impact on her mental health. She was reluctant to leave the home and this compounded her struggle to find work.

Work with the family and results

Various services had worked with the family for a number of years but no real progress had been made. Mum had indicated she wanted to find work but had made no real attempt to do so. The family intervention worker accompanied mum to a meeting with a Job Centre Plus worker who showed her how much better off she would be financially if she went back to work and encouraged her to attend courses that would help. This helped with her confidence and made her determined to find a job. When she did get a job interview, she was understandably very nervous and so the family worker supported her closely. As a result mum was thrilled when she was offered a job in a care home. The family worker helped her to create a payment plan so that she could get her debts under control. She was also able to help her with other small practical tasks to help get control of her life – for example giving her a calendar so she could keep track of all her appointments and begin to start attending school meetings and health appointments.

The family worker also worked with the children, to get to grips with why they were struggling with school and explained the consequences of them not attending. She laid it on the line with the older brother about his attendance and it worked. The very next day he went to school and his attendance has continued to improve.

One of the younger boys was displaying really difficult behaviour so the family worker ensured that he got medical assessments which led to a mental health diagnosis and medication. This has really helped with his behaviour and he has attended a number of football trials with various clubs.

Her eldest son’s school attendance has improved so much that he is on course to receive 10 GCSE grades A-C and plans to go to college to do a sports course. Her other sons’ attendance has also improved because of the changes at home and there are no longer any violent incidents.

Progress turning troubled families’ lives around in Leicestershire

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

Total number of families 810
Number of families identified as at end of March 2014 810
Number of families worked with as at end of March 2014 810
Families turned around as at end of February 2014 633
Published 1 May 2014