Life at home was madness
In Tabby’s own words, "life at home was madness". Her son lives with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the family lived in fear of him because of his regular outbursts of aggression towards them.
Tabby couldn’t see a way forward, she was close to a breakdown and there was a chance that her children could have been taken into care -she was then referred to the think families team in Birmingham.
The think families service offers intensive support of up to 20 hours a week and is the local name given to the government’s Troubled Families agenda.
Helping and supporting families identified as 'troubled' is a huge challenge for local authorities and their partners but thanks to the help and support that Tabby’s family has received, they are a lot happier and she is now looking forward to getting back into work – watch her story here…
Government information states that ‘Troubled Families’ cost the public sector £9 billion a year – an average of £75,000 per family. With only £1 billion of this going towards preventative help and the rest being spent on reacting to the problems.
At the beginning of the programme, 120,000 families in England had been identified as having (and causing) problems to their communities. Some of the problems identified include truancy and school exclusions, worklessness, youth crime and anti-social behaviour. The deep rooted, often generational issues that these families face mean that intensive support needs to be offered to help them achieve their personal goals.
The challenges faced by local authorities and their partnership organisations include getting children back into school (and attending regularly), supporting adults back into work and also helping to reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
Of the children not attending school, it is suggested that many of their family members did not complete their education either. This lack of educational structure is said to contribute to an increase in anti-social behaviour with 64% of excluded children having committed offences in the 12 months following exclusion from school - compared with 26% of school pupils. It is suggested that this pattern of poor education and criminal activity ultimately leads to a lack of opportunities and unemployment.
As well as education, work and crime indicators, it is also recognised that many of these families have other problems that they may also need support with.
These include drug and alcohol misuse, mental health problems, teenage pregnancies, domestic violence and long term health issues. Estimates also suggest that there are child protection problems in over a third of the families identified, with a fifth of young offenders also coming from these ‘troubled families’.
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