Help on hand for families

Hartlepool Civic Centre
Hartlepool Civic Centre

DOZENS of “troubled families” have been targeted so far under a scheme aimed at transforming their lives.

Officials at Hartlepool Borough Council say they are currently working with 58 families that meet the Troubled Families criteria and are in the process of engaging with the remaining 39 families in order to meet the annual target of 97.

It comes after Hartlepool was identified as having 290 troubled families, with 242 eligible for help under the new Government scheme which will see £440m pumped in nationally.

Over the next three years the aim is to turn around the lives of 120,000 families with families that sign up given action plans, a case worker, and more targeted partnership work across agencies.

The aim is to transform lives and reduce the long-term financial burden on services.

Troubled families are households who:

l Are involved in crime and anti-social behaviour;

l Who have children not in school;

l Who have an adult on out-of-work benefits or cause high costs to the public purse.

Turning troubled families around means getting children back into school, cutting levels of anti-social behaviour and getting parents on to a work programme which will mean the families are less of a burden on the taxpayer.

Over the course of three years, Hartlepool could be in line for funding worth almost £1m, depending on results.

Estimates show that intensive work is expected to cost £10,000 per family and Hartlepool would be allocated £4,000 per family.

The Government is yet to hand over any cash to Hartlepool under the payment-by-results system because Hartlepool is yet to submit a claim.

Officers say they intend to do so in July.

A council spokesman said: “Our local approach to the Troubled Families programme, named ‘Think Family, Think Community’, adopts a whole family approach which works intensively with partner agencies and the families to help to turn their lives around.

“Our approach, using a range of intensive interventions, is tailored to meet the needs of the families.

“As a partnership we want to use the ‘Think Family, Think Community’ programme to transform the way that services are delivered to families in Hartlepool.”

Local authorities can also target families with looked-after children, prolific offenders, substance misuse or if there is a history of domestic violence.