Almost 500 troubles families helped

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Figures show the Government’s troubled families scheme has helped get 481 families get back on track after two years of work in the county.

There is still one year of the scheme remaining, and another 700 families are in line for more help before the cut-off date of May 2015.

The scheme was launched to try to target 120,000 families across England who have long, often multi-generational history with anti-social behaviour and joblessness, have children who do not regularly go to school and cost the public purse a disproportionate amount of money.

Northamptonshire was allocated funding for 1,200 families – although some of the cash is not handed over until those families are officially “turned around”.

The county council says 481 of those families are now on the road to recovery and fulfil strict criteria that class them as having been “turned around”.

Of those families, 360 have had crime or anti-social behaviour education and 121 now have jobs.

Cllr Heather Smith, the council cabinet member for children’s services, said she was pleased with the figures although she acknowledged the scheme was a work in progress.

She said: “The Government’s view is that those authorities who had turned around 41 per cent of their target number of families at the end of May were viewed as excellent.

“We’re at 40 per cent so we’re doing well.

WThese families cost the public purse lots and lots of money and the scheme aims to reduce that cost.”

The figures are reviewed every three months to check local authorities are on target.

The scheme ends in May 2015 in line with the General Election but it is thought that, depending on the election outcome, may be extended further.

Cllr Smith added: “There are families out there who we would class as troubled but they don’t fall into the particular categories outlined in this programme.

“We think that if the scheme goes on after the election, it will be much broader.

“We are hoping that we may be able to help another 4,000 families in Northamptonshire over a five-year period.”