A council will work with thousands more troubled families, after its project was named as one of the best performing in the country.
West Sussex County Council has been named among the top 51 performing authorities in the Government’s troubled families programme.
As a result, the council will begin work later this year on a new five-year plan for the programme ahead of its roll-out nationally in 2015.
The council will work with 600 more families between now and April next year and could eventually take on more than 4,000 extra families during the next stage of the programme.
The West Sussex County Council-led Think Family programme has so far “turned the lives around” of 774 families in the county and has been singled out as the best-performing nationally in getting families back into work by helping 389 people find employment. The programme was launched by the Government in 2012 and so far has worked with 110,000 of the country’s most troubled families, with around half successfully “turned around”.
Having previously worked on reducing truancy, crime and anti-social behaviour, the expanded programme will now work with even more families with a wider set of problems, including domestic violence, debt and children at risk of being taken into care.
Studies have shown that those dubbed ‘troubled families’ have, on average, nine serious problems including truancy, crime, anti-social behaviour, worklessness and domestic violence.
In May, The Argus reported how almost 1,000 troubled families had been identified in Brighton and Hove with about a third “turned around”.
Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for children, said: “Our success shows that investing early to support those families who need help and support the most really does work.”
Chief Superintendent Martin Walker, Sussex Police divisional commander for West Sussex and chair of the Think Family Partnership Board, said: “Families are at peace, children are back at school, parents are in work and crime and disorder has reduced.
“We are seeing families and communities restored, providing the environment for children to grow into responsible citizens.”