Hundreds of lives turned around by Family Recovery Project
Published: Friday 26th June 15
New figures show Wandsworth is one of the most successful councils in London at turning around lives of some of its most vulnerable families.
Government figures released this week show that since the Wandsworth Family Recovery Project started in 2012, it has helped 660 families as part of the Government’s troubled families programme.
Almost all (94 per cent) of families that have received support now have children that regularly attend school, commit much less or no crime and no longer subject their neighbours to antisocial behaviour. Of the families in which an adult has started work, this figure rises to a hundred per cent.
The borough’s results have been praised by the head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme Louise Casey. She said:
Louise Casey and Eric Pickles visit the Wandsworth project in 2013
“It’s fantastic news that the Wandsworth team has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families in the borough. That’s 660 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut.
“The council and key workers deserve enormous credit, but most of all I want to congratulate the families themselves who have had the courage to change and give their children a better chance in life.”
Troubled families are defined by the Government as those whose lives may be affected by any number of social problems including drink and/or drug addiction, domestic violence, educational underachievement, worklessness, poverty, child neglect, truancy, persistent criminality and anti-social behaviour.
Each individual family whose lives are successfully turned around represents a potential saving to taxpayers – possibly as much as £29,000 a year - from reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour, a fall in the number of children that need to be taken into care, fewer visits to A&E, fewer interventions from the police and the courts and by getting adults off benefits and back into work.
The Wandsworth programme works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that the children attend school, appointments are met and appropriate services are accessed. Crucially, all of the public services working with the families enjoy better co-ordination, ensuring that all the different agencies work much more closely together to tackle the root cause of problems rather than just the symptoms.
Children’s Services spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: “It’s great news that our Family Recovery Project has proved such a success. These families have deep-rooted, complex problems that they are likely to find almost impossible to solve on their own.
“By helping them bring their lives back into focus and tackling these issues in a joined-up way, it improves their lives, creates better citizens and makes the borough an even better place to live.”