Report highlights chaos of troubled families' lives
Louise Casey CB has published a report highlighting the chaotic personal histories of the kinds of families who will be targeted as part of the Government's commitment to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families by 2015.
The report details stark real-life accounts from families, with experiences often passed from generation to generation, such as domestic and sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies, poor parenting, social care interventions, police call outs and educational failure. It also contains Louise Casey's early conclusions that a whole-family approach is often best for dealing with multiple and inter-linked problems; rather than approaches that deal with single problems or single individuals within a household.
Key recurring themes highlighted in the report include:
- Dysfunctional and unstable family structures;
- History repeating itself within families and between generations;
- Extended family and antisocial networks within communities which reinforce destructive behaviour; and
- The need for one assertive family worker who offers practical help and support but also sanction in dealing with families.
Head of Troubled Families Policy Louise Casey said:
"I am not making excuses for any family failing to send their kids to school or causing trouble in their community. However unless we really understand what it is about these families that means they behave in this way, we can't start to turn their lives around.
"Conducting these interviews has been an eye-opening experience - to hear first hand about the lives these families lead and the legacy of trouble that's often been passed down to them. It's clearer than ever to me now that we cannot go on allowing families to fail their children; none of the parents I spoke to wanted their children to repeat a life of chaos and trouble, but often they couldn't see how to put things right by themselves - they needed practical and persistent help to do so."
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:
"I welcome this report as it provides a real insight into these families' dysfunctional lives and highlights the urgent need to turn them around. The Troubled Families team in my department are not just sitting in an office in Whitehall telling local authorities what to do but seeking to gain a true understanding of the challenges they face."
Under the Troubled Families programme the Department for Communities and Local Government will pay upper-tier local authorities up to £4,000 per eligible family on a payment-by-results basis if they reduce truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour or put parents back into work.
The Government's £448m three-year budget is drawn from across seven departments in a bid to join up local services dealing with these families on the frontline. All 152 upper-tier authorities in England have committed to engaging in the programme.