A 'troubled family' is defined as one that has serious problems, including parents not working and children not in school, and causes serious problems, such as youth crime and anti-social behaviour, and causing high costs to the public purse.
The Prime Minister has pledged to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families in the next three years through an intervention programme launched in March this year.
Councils will be paid by results up to £4,000 per family towards the cost of successfully intervening with eligible families across England, but will have to meet the remainder of the average cost of £10,000 per intervention themselves. The government's £448 million three-year budget is drawn from across seven departments.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
"The fast and unanimous level of take-up shows that the Government has got the confidence of local councils that together we can tackle a problem that councils have long grappled with. We cannot go on spending so much taxpayers' money on such a small amount of families without turning their lives around once and for all.In an interview in yesterday's Independent on Sunday, the Communities Secretary revealed that he draws inspiration from a photo of a gun-toting John Wayne in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – "just in case I get any feelings of self doubt".
"We now have an opportunity to offer real and lasting change for these families and the communities around them. Everyone will benefit from getting kids off the streets and into school; getting parents off benefits and into work; and cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour. But it is also right that we will only pay councils in full if they deliver the results that we require."
Speaking of the Troubled Families programme, he said "more forceful in language, a little less understanding," adding "sometimes we've run away from categorising, stigmatising, laying blame."
Rather embarrassingly, Prime Minister David Cameron, the driving force behind the programme that aims to tackle poor parenting, accidentally left his eight year old daughter Nancy behind in a country pub yesterday, according to a report in the Daily Mirror.