Plymouth City Council is celebrating after achieving its 100 per cent target early on a programme aimed at ‘turning around’ the lives of families who need additional support.
Plymouth was one of a number of areas chosen by the Government in 2012 to help roll out the national ‘Troubled Families’ scheme to help families.
The Families with a Future programme, as it is known locally, has helped turn around a total of 745 families in Plymouth. Phase 1 is now complete and the programme is now set to triple with a new target of helping 2,420 families in the city over the next five years as part of phase 2 of the scheme.
Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health for Plymouth City Council, said: “These are impressive results. Wrapping services around families is helping them towards a better future, and is demonstrating a more cost-effective approach. Increasing partnership working city wide to meet the needs of families is crucial for continued success.
“The Families with a Future programme is making a real difference to the lives of families in Plymouth and we look forward to building on the success of this programme over the next few years”.
National figures have estimated that families chosen to take part in the scheme can cost the taxpayer up to £75,000 per year unless action is taken to help ‘turn around’ the families. This estimate can cover a range of services from policing to courts to health and social care, as there are often issues with the families, which relate to anti-social behaviour and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
By taking part in the scheme families are able to improve both their own lives and in turn this makes things better for others living in their local community. In Plymouth, 745 families have had their lives ‘turned around’ by the scheme, and Phase 2 will roll out the scheme to 2,420 families. As well as the wider benefits to society and local communities, it is estimated that the scheme could potentially save taxpayers millions of pounds.
Families are deemed as ‘turned around’ under the scheme if the following criteria have been met:
• children are back in school for three consecutive terms where they were previously truant or excluded
• high levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour have been significantly reduced
• and/or adults that were on benefits have been in work for at least three months