In April 2012, the Government launched the Troubled Families Programme (known in North Somerset as the High Impact Families Programme): a £448 million scheme to incentivise local authorities and their partners to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families by May 2015. The first programme worked with families where children were not attending school, young people were committing crime, families were involved in anti-social behaviour and adults were out of work. In North Somerset, the Programme achieved successful outcomes with 305 families.
In June 2013, the Government announced plans to expand the Troubled Families Programme for a further five years from 2015/16. The aim is to transform the lives of troubled families and the services that work with them and to ensure more efficient and effective use of public money for the long-term. It is intended to reach up to an additional 400,000 families across England, which equates to almost 1000 families in North Somerset.
The new Programme started in September 2014 in North Somerset and retains the first programme's focus on families with multiple high cost problems, continuing to include families affected by poor school attendance, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and unemployment. However, it will also reach out to families with a broader range of problems.
To be eligible for the expanded programme, each family must have at least two of the following six problems:
- Parents or children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.
- Children who have not been attending school regularly.
- Children who need help: children of all ages, who need help, are identified as in need or are subject to a Child Protection Plan.
- Adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness.
- Families affected by domestic violence and abuse.
- Parents or children with a range of health problems.
Families will be prioritised for inclusion in the programme on the basis of the following:
- They are families with multiple problems (in North Somerset there will be a particular focus upon mental health and domestic abuse) who are most likely to benefit from an integrated, whole family approach; and
- They are families who are the highest cost to the public purse
How do we work with families?
Families which are identified by the High Impact Families Programme team as meeting the criteria for inclusion in the Programme, will be monitored regularly and given access to extra resources (the HIF Offer) where appropriate (subject to availability).
The Case Coordinator will assess the whole family's needs and agree an action plan with the family. The plan will involve key adults' and children's services agencies and might include practical hands-on support.
The aim is to streamline the services that are working with these families. This approach maximises resources and avoids duplication and reduces costs, focuses on and improving outcomes for the families in question.