Work will begin this year in 51 of the best performing areas, which will be funded to work with 40,000 extra families. This expansion was included in the Budget in March 2014, but today’s announcement reveals the areas to benefit, and the extension of the programme from working with school-age children to include those under five.
The Understanding Troubled Families report published last month showed that families within the current Troubled Families programme have an average of nine serious problems such as truancy, crime, anti-social behaviour, worklessness and domestic violence. And new data published today highlights the poor health issues in troubled families, with 71% having a physical health problem and 46% a mental health concern.
In response, the criteria for inclusion in the expanded programme have been widened to include health and domestic abuse problems. Now a family will have to be referred by specialist agencies and have two of the following six problems:
- parents and children involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
- children who have not been attending school regularly
- children who need help
- adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion and young people at risk of worklessness
- families affected by domestic violence and abuse
- parents and children with a range of health problems.
In addition to today’s statement, it was announced in last year’s Spending Round that the Troubled Families programme would be expanded to work with 400,000 more families from 2015 to 2020, with £200 million funding for 2015 to 2016.