Hundreds of troubled families in Sheffield have been ‘turned around’ in the last 15 months by a new Government programme.
Under the £400 million Troubled Families programme, councils have been asked to identify families with parents who are out of work long-term and where children are believed to be at risk of getting into trouble.
In Sheffield, 1,680 of the families are to be offered help and the council has worked with 932 so far – 320 of which were classed as ‘turned around’ by July.
Households in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster are also receiving assistance.
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “We are receiving £175,000 annually from the Government to pay for the programme, which aimed to help 800 families in 2012/13, 600 in 2013-14 and 280 in 2014-15.”
A further payment of up to £4,000 per family is available based on results – measured in terms of children being at school, reduced crime and parents returning to work.
A total of 645 problem families were dealt with in Barnsley, with 250 helped so far and 77 classed as ‘turned around’.
In Rotherham, there are believed to be 680 troubled families, work has started with 326 of them and 88 have been turned around.
More than 8,000 troubled families are being targeted across Yorkshire and Humber.
As well as social services support, 150 specialist Jobcentre Plus advisers have been appointed around the region to give intensive support to whole families and track the progress made to get them into jobs.
Prime Minister David Cameron wants to have helped 120,000 households across the country by 2015.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “These figures show that our no-nonsense and common sense approach is changing these families for the better.
“Considering the often long-standing and deep-seated nature of these families’ problems, it is a huge achievement.
“And instead of several costly services working with the same family, this approach is both more effective and cheaper too.”
Louise Casey, who heads the Troubled Families programme, added: “By dealing with all the family members and all of their problems in a tough and intensive way we are finally getting to grips with problems which have persisted for generations.”
One South Yorkshire case involved a mum with three children.
There were issues with fighting in the street and in the property, noise nuisance and the mother had untreated ‘substance misuse’ issues.
Police were regularly called to the address.
The family was given a dedicated social worker who visited at least four times a week.
The mother was offered treatment, school attendance was monitored and animals were re-homed so the house could be made cleaner. There has been no anti-social behaviour for the last eight months.