WEST Sussex County Council has signed up to the Government’s Troubled Families Initiative, to help families across the county and potentially save itself millions.
The national initiative is a three-year programme and aims to help families who have been identified as facing “difficult issues”.
This could include working with families to get children back into school, reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour, or, help adults get back into work.
Member for children and families Peter Evans said the initiative worked well with county’s Think Family Programme.
To qualify for the national initiative, families have to meet one or more of the following criteria:
1. A person under 18 years old in the household has a proven criminal offence or anyone in the household has committed anti-social behaviour in the last 12 months.
2. Children in the household are not attending school regularly because of truancy, exclusion, or any other cause.
3. There is an adult in the household who is not working.
4. Issues that cause difficulties for families who are experiencing a combination of the above.
A county spokeswoman said 1,165 families in West Sussex are expected to meet the criteria.
“It is expected that working with families who need assistance will lead to financial savings for the county council and partner organisations as the families will be less reliant on public sector services,” she said.
When the scheme was launched nationally, the Government said two per cent of families suffer “significant multiple problems” making them more likely to place demands on local services, such as health, social care and criminal justice.
Figures on www.communities.gov.uk said this equates to 120,000 families in England.
Data collected in October and November estimated £9 billion is spent annually on those 120,000 families – an average of £75,000 per family per year.
Based on those figures, if West Sussex has 1,165 families with “significant multiple problems”, it would mean an average of £87,375,000 is being spent in the county per year.