Case study

Troubled families: Wakefield

Progress in Wakefield helping troubled families turn their lives around.

Wakefield map

The family

Mum and dad and their 2 daughters aged 9 and 5.

The situation

Three generations of the family were affected by domestic violence and drug addiction. Dad had 23 criminal convictions and had been in prison. He was a daily user of cannabis and both he and mum had mental health problems. The family was under threat of eviction for rent arrears and the poor condition of the property. Both parents had been on benefits for most of their adult lives and were in debt.

The children were on social services registers, and there were concerns about sexual abuse by a wider family member. In addition, the older child had mental health problems and special educational needs. His school attendance was poor and his health appointments were being missed.

Work with the family and results

The family intervention worker built trust with the family and began to understand their problems. She was able to postpone the eviction order on the basis that she would help the family sort out their problems and make improvements to their home. She arranged for a skip to be delivered so that rubbish could be cleared from the home and garden and helped mum keep the house clean.

The worker challenged the dad about his cannabis use and got him support from a treatment service. She worked with both parents on the importance of education and the consequences for the children in not attending school. She also worked directly with the older daughter to encourage her to attend school.

She helped mum get support for her mental health problems and encouraged her to build a relationship with her GP.

She taught the parents how to deal with their daughter’s sexualised behaviour within the family home, which has now stopped. Her attendance at school is currently at 94%, up from 38%. Social services are no longer concerned about the family and both mum and dad work with professionals when they need to.

Dad is now working on a 6 month fencing project and is getting help for his drug and mental health problems. He is no longer socialising with other drug users and has started playing football to improve his health.

As a direct result of the improvements in the home the tenancy is no longer at risk.

Mum’s confidence has grown and she is now able to make plans for the future.

Progress in turning troubled families’ lives around in Wakefield.

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

Total number of families 930
Number of families identified as at end of March 2014 930
Number of families worked with as at end of March 2014 930
Families turned around as at end of February 2014 795
Published 1 May 2014