Councillor Patricia Stallard, Executive Member for Public Health, who has lead responsibility for the Supporting Families Programme, said: “This is a very encouraging report. I am pleased to see that we are overcoming the challenges of the task and attaining the Government’s more stringent criteria set for Phase 2.
“It is clear to me that by working closely with partner agencies, including the Police, schools and the Health Service, we are able to help families who are on the verge of crisis, to make positive changes in their lives.”
“With the programme’s intervention, the best outcomes for those families have been achieved. They have been helped to get back into and stay in work, their children now attend school regularly and keep out of trouble outside of school, whilst their home lifestyles are safer and more settled. The benefits of this support are not only felt directly by the families on the programme, but also across the wider communities in which they live.”
The first phase of the Government’s Supporting (Troubled) Families Programme was launched in 2012, with the aim of turning around the lives of families with multiple, complex and persistent issues, including unemployment, poor school attendance, involvement in crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as problems with drugs and/or alcohol.
In the first year of Phase 2 (2015/16), the Government’s target of 1,223 families was exceeded by over 200 families in Hampshire - with a total of 1,446 families identified or engaged.
Independent evaluation of the second phase of the Hampshire programme is being carried out by Southampton Solent University. It follows Portsmouth University’s assessment of phase one, which found that the programme was “promoting positive change in professional practice with families” and had achieved:
- Substantial reductions in the prevalence of families with a child persistently absent from school
- Reduced likelihood of children needing to be taken in to care or becoming an open case to Children’s Social Services
- Avoidance of costs to the public purse of £2.4m per annum (conservative estimate)
- Increased confidence among professionals in working with the whole family
- Increased partnership working and inter-agency co-ordination and co-operation.