Troubled Sunderland families ‘turned around’ under Government scheme

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MORE than 230 Sunderland households have been “turned around” as part of the Government’s ground-breaking Troubled Families programme.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that in Sunderland 805 families were identified as part of the scheme, and 754 were being worked with.

By the end of March this year, 238 had been turned around.

Troubled families are defined as those who are involved in youth crime or antisocial behaviour, have children who are regularly truanting and have an adult on jobless benefits. Dealing with them costs the taxpayer an estimated average of £75,000 per year.

A progress update published by the Department for Communities and Local Government today showed that 2,548 North East families have now been turned around since the programme began.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that the fact that truancy, youth crime and antisocial behaviour have been significantly reduced in the Sunderland homes, and adults are in a job or now able to work, was helping to secure a better future for both these families and the country as a whole.

He added: “Getting some of our most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan – it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country.”

He was speaking two years after setting out a challenge to improve the behaviour and reduce the problems of the 120,000 most troubled families in England, bringing down their estimated £9billion annual cost to the taxpayer.

Louise Casey, head of the Troubled Families programme, added: “This works because it is about dealing with all members of the family and all of its problems, being tough but supportive and providing intensive, practical help.

“Councils have changed the way they work with troubled families to make sure that one team or worker is providing that support, not a dozen different public services. In doing so they are now seeing results which mean that more families will be able to be helped in the future.”