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Troubled Families scheme extended and renamed Supporting Families Programme

The government has launched the next phase of its Troubled Families Programme, renaming it The Supporting Families Programme, to support some of the most vulnerable families in society.

The newly named ‘Supporting Families’ programme, includes work to support people to leave abusive relationships, get the right support for people with mental health problems and help unemployed people to find work.

Launching the programme Housing Secretary, Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP said: “Working hand in hand with local councils and other partners we have helped over 400,000 vulnerable families.

“For the next phase, Supporting Families will continue this important work backed by £165 million funding to help families with multiple complex problems to overcome difficulties as early as possible. It is a critical part of our moral mission to tackle inter-generational unemployment, crime, domestic abuse and family breakdown.

“As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic it is more important than ever we support families. The last year has shown what can be achieved if different agencies act as one and wrap their arms around the most vulnerable. That is the objective of Supporting Families, the renewed programme to turn around lives and help families to achieve their potential,” he added.

The scheme has been renamed The Supporting Families Programme to better reflect the role that keyworkers play.

The Troubled Families programme launched in 2012 and since 2015, more than 400,000 vulnerable families have received support to help them turn their lives around, and over 870,000 families have benefited from the programme’s ‘whole family’ approach to tackling problems.

The next phase of the scheme will be about collating better data and the government has announced the launch of a new Data Accelerator Fund, backed by £7.9 million in additional funding, to improve how councils use data to support vulnerable families. This includes identifying families that need support and helping frontline workers get the information they need. Councils will be able to bid for this funding, split over two years, to set up new data projects.

Research on a £9.5 million Supporting Families Against Youth Violence fund, which supported 21 areas to run projects combatting knife crime between 2018 and 2020, has also been published. The research showed that a whole family approaches were seen as effective in preventing youth crime.

ADCS Vice President Charlotte Ramsden said: “We welcome the next phase of the Supporting Families programme and the much needed extra investment this will bring. The funding from this programme has been a vital part of the early help offer for a majority of local authorities and its continuation will undoubtedly help improve the lives of many children and families.

“We know that the reasons why children come to the attention of early help services are largely due to adults experiencing domestic abuse, mental health difficulties or substance misuse. The pandemic will unfortunately have had a negative impact on these issues and LAs are now supporting more new families as a result. We hope that the programme’s new, and very welcome, emphasis on supporting families is the beginning of a long-term commitment by government. One that has at its heart early help, relationship-based practice and a holistic focus on a child’s lived experience, within their family and within their community which would undoubtedly changes lives,” she added.

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