News story

Tackling troubled families: new plans unveiled

PM unveils plans to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Almost £450 million will be made available to help turn around the lives of 120,000 of some of the country’s most troubled families by the end of this Parliament.

New figures show that troubled families cost the tax payer an estimated £9billion per year, equivalent to £75,000 per family. This is spent on protecting the children in these families and responding to the crime and anti-social behaviour they commit.

A new Troubled Families Team based within the Department for Communities and Local Government and headed by Louise Casey CB, has been established to join up efforts across Whitehall, provide expert help to local areas and drive forward the strategy.

Under the new plans the Government will offer up to 40 per cent of the cost of dealing with these families to local authorities - but on a payment-by-results basis when they and their partners achieve success with families.

Success will be determined by:

  • getting children back into school
  • reducing their criminal and anti-social behaviour
  • getting parents on the road back to work
  • reducing the costs to the taxpayer and local authorities

The new programme will also fund a national network of Troubled Family ‘Trouble-Shooters’ who will be appointed by local councils. Their responsibilities will include making sure the right families are getting the right type of help, that sanctions are in place when needed, and that positive results are being achieved with the troubled families in their area.

The Prime Minister, who formally launched the programme during a visit to a Family Intervention Centre in Sandwell, said:

Last year the state spent an estimated £9 billion on just 120,000 families, around £75,000 per family. Our heart tells us we can’t just stand by while people live these lives and cause others so much misery. Our head tells us we can’t afford to keep footing the monumental bills for social failure. So we have got to take action to turn troubled families around.

This immense task will take new ways of thinking, committed local action, flexibility and perseverance. But I know too that it’s a task we can’t shirk. People in troubled families aren’t worthless or pre-programmed to fail. I won’t allow them to be written off. So we must get out there, help them their lives around and heal the scars of the broken society.

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Read the Prime Minister’s speech in full.

Published 15 December 2011