More than 240 ‘troubled’ families in the Black Country and Staffordshire have had their lives ‘turned around’ under a £448 million project, it was claimed today.
It comes after councils were asked to identify families and households with problems that could lead to worse problems later.
Councils are able to get the money if they get children to attend school, get adults into work and off benefits and reduce the overall cost to the public purse.
Troubled families are those who cost the public purse on average £750,000 a year each dealing with their respective problems.
They can be those where someone is involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour, where children are regularly truanting or where an adult is on out-of-work benefits or a combination of problems.
Of 478 families in Staffordshire identified as ‘troubled’ in June, 96 were considered to have been ‘turned around’ by the end of July. They are considered to have been ‘turned around’ if different measures are met, including if children go back to school, adults come off benefits and levels of criminal behaviour are reduced.
In Sandwell there were 516 families and 84 turned around a month later.
Wolverhampton City Council turned around 16 families out of 393 it identified while in Walsall 13 out of 383 families were turned around.
Dudley Council identified 687 families and had turned around 33 by the end July.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am determined that we help people to get on in life including those families where things may be going wrong. For some, that starts with attending school every day, staying out of trouble with the police and taking practical steps towards work, just as other families do.
“Every month, more and more of the most troubled families are getting help to deal with these issues head-on. “That is good for those families, their community and our country as a whole.”
The government’s adviser on the programme, Louise Casey, has said that mothers of large families should be taken to the doctors for advice on contraception to stop them having any more.
She said: “Having a baby might not be the best solution, and actually doing something just for themselves like getting a job, getting on a course, getting their health sorted out could be the right thing to do.
“The best family intervention gets into the family and helps them see what’s the best way for them to go forward.
“Sometimes adding another child isn’t right.”
Asked whether that included accompanying women to go to the doctor to get advice about contraception, she replied: “Yes that’s right.
“I’ve come across cases where that’s what some family intervention project workers have done, definitely.”