Case study

Troubled families: Stockton-on-Tees

Progress in Stockton-on-Tees helping troubled families turn their lives around.

Stockton-on-Tees map

The family

Mum and dad have 4 children together, 3 sons and 1 daughter. They were also caring for their 3 year old niece.

The situation

Two of the boys were involved in anti-social behaviour. The eldest son was smoking cannabis, staying out all night and was well known to police and as a result the family was being threatened with eviction. Mum was not parenting effectively, she didn’t know where her eldest son was a lot of the time and the children were out of control at home. Dad was working nights and sleeping through the day and was often loud and aggressive because of the children’s behaviour, which often led to violence.

All the children had attendance problems and one of the boys was falling badly behind academically. Mum was struggling with housework and gambling heavily which meant that money wasn’t getting spent on the household bills. The children were missing their health appointments and were not registered with any dentist.

Work with the family and results

When the family intervention worker first met with mum, they discussed how they could work together to tackle the problems within the family. As she was due to be fined because her youngest boy’s poor school attendance, mum’s immediate priority was getting her son into school.

The intervention worker negotiated a plan with the school to show that mum was committed to improving his attendance. This initial support helped mum to trust the worker and from there it was easier to address some of the other problems. Mum’s gambling problems were the reason the family was struggling financially, so the family worker confronted mum about this and helped her to access an addiction support service. This helped her to address her addiction and she has now put herself on a voluntary ban at the local betting shops.

Together they made an agreement with the landlord to repay the arrears and tackle her children’s anti-social behaviour. The eldest boy had by now left school so the family intervention worker helped him to think about his future. She helped him create a CV and got him onto a local apprenticeship programme. Over the next few months his behaviour changed drastically. He comes home regularly, has not committed any crime or anti-social behaviour, is earning his own money and is getting on better with his family. The eviction notice is no longer in place and the school attendance for all the children has improved significantly. The household chores are now being done, mum is managing money better and has enrolled on a course at her local college as a first step back to employment.

Progress turning troubled families’ lives around in Stockton-on-Tees

The chart below shows progress made in Stockton-on-Tees as of March 2014.

Total number of families 455
Number of families identified as at end of March 2014 417
Number of families worked with as at end of March 2014 417
Families turned around as at end of February 2014 186
Published 1 May 2014