Ministers Expand 'Troubled Families' Scheme

Ministers have announced an expansion to a programme to tackle the problems of "troubled families".

As part of the scheme local authorities get financial incentives to tackle some of the 120,000 families said to cost the taxpayer £9bn every year.

Ministers have said they want to turn around these families' lives by 2015.

However Labour have said government cuts will limit the impact of family intervention schemes.

Under the government programme, councils are being encouraged to join up the efforts of the various agencies involved with these families - from social workers to teachers, police officers and doctors.

The government is diverting £448m from existing departmental budgets over four years to help pay for a network of people who will identify families in need of help, make sure they get access to the right services and ensure that action is taken.

But the money will cover only 40% of costs, and councils who want to use it will have to agree to fund the other 60% themselves.

However, if a local authority manages to cut a family's level of truancy, anti-social behaviour, or benefit dependency, it will receive extra money.

The government claims the 120,000 families are to blame for a significant share of social problems, saying that the adults are usually on benefits for life, their children are often absent from school and the police are regularly called to their homes.

The estimated £9bn they cost the public purse each year relates to spending on them with regards to the NHS, the police and social services.


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