4Children CEO Anne Longfield has given her support to the government's expansion of their 'troubled families' programme.

Ministers announced yesterday [11 June] every eligible council in England is to take part in the programme which incentivises local authorities to send in 'troubleshooters' to confront the difficult families in their area.

Government estimates show that the 'worst' 120,000 families in the UK cost taxpayers over £9 billion in benefits, NHS, police and social services spending.

The Department for Communities & Local Government will divert £448 million from existing spending to cover 40 per cent of the costs needed to 'join up' the various agencies involved with those families.

While councils who want to use it will have to agree to fund the other 60% themselves, if a local authority manages to cut a family's level of truancy, anti-social behaviour, or benefit dependency, it will receive extra money.

Longfield believes this will prove to be money well spent and said: "Where problems already exist, and look set to worsen, it is right to get help in there, fast and firm.

"By and large, so-called troubled families want desperately to turn their lives around, so this is an opportunity for government, national and local, to offer a strong helping hand.  The scale of the challenge is huge, but if left alone, it will only grow."

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his pride that his government decided to and will continue to "really try and deal with this hugely important area of work".

Posted 12/06/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com