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Kent leads the way in helping troubled families

By Alan Smith

Kent is leading the way in assisting troubled families, a Government report has revealed.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said that 560 troubled families in the county had had their lives “turned around” by assistance they had received under programme aimed at targeting support to those least able to cope.

The figure is higher than that achieved by any other authority in the South East.

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged 500 free schools
Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged 500 free schools

The Troubled Families Programme measures success in a number of ways: a child who had previously been truanting or excluded from school had now been back in class for three consecutive terms; incidents of youth crime or anti-social behaviours had been “significantly” reduced, and an unemployed adult had now been back in work for three consecutive months.

The Government estimates that a “troubled family” could cost the state £75,000 a year, in benefits, police time, court cases and so on.

Across the South East, the lives of 3,973 families have been turned around, representing a considerable financial saving as well as being a human benefit.

In the South East, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan - it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for the country.”

Under the programme, one team from social services works with the whole of a family on all of its problems in a tough, intensive and coordinated way, getting to grips with what is really going on in the home, rather than different services reacting to individual problems.

Kent additionally has another 1,593 families in the programme - also more than any other authority on the South East. Next highest is Hampshire with 980 families in the scheme.

The Government made £448m available for the three-year -programme which is now in its second year.

Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families.

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