a SUPPORT scheme has helped more than 200 “troubled” families on Wearside turn their lives around, according to new figures.
Jobcentre Plus specialists, who provide intensive support for struggling families and fast-track progress to boost their search for employment, have “worked with” 279 clients in Sunderland in the past year.
It has targeted a total of 805 families in the city.
Practical support included CV writing, job interview skills, and highlight training opportunities and vacancies.
Figures from local authorities, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, show that 2,558 families across the North East had so-far benefitted from the three-year programme.
Nationally, more than 35,000 clients are being supported, up from 22,000 last December, and councils had identified more than 66,000 of the 120,000 families the Prime Minister pledged to turn around by 2015.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The Troubled Families programme is on track to deliver life-changing results for families and communities across the country.
“Many services have been set up from scratch over the past year, so it is remarkable progress to already be reaching a quarter of the families who need help to change.”
Mr Pickles said the figures showed that councils are on course to meet the Prime Minister’s target of having children back in school, cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour and putting parents on a path back to work by 2015.
“Troubled” families are defined as those who are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour, have children who are regularly truanting or have an adult on out-of-work benefits.
It is estimated that the issue represents a “major cost” to the public sector, with “large sums” spent on responding to problems.
“Troubled families are often living miserable lives and can also cause misery to the communities around them, draining around £9 billion per year from the public purse,” said Mr Pickles.
“This programme is not only transforming the lives of families we have too often not got to grips with in the past, but it will deliver considerable savings to the taxpayer by reducing their demand on services and helping them make a positive contribution to society instead.”