Fresh approach to help troubled families in city

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OVER 900 problem families in Wakefield struggling to cope could receive help to encourage them to turn their lives around.

The Government’s “Troubled Families” initiative aims to support families struggling to cope and encourage them to play a responsible role in their own communities. It is also hoped the intensive support offered by this programme will also benefit the wider community who may be affected by the anti-social behaviour of these families.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet will consider a report on Tuesday which sets out the approach to working with 930 families in the district, identified by the Government as not having children in school, a parent on benefits, are involved in crime and anti-social behaviour and cost the public purse a lot of money.

Wakefield Council leader and chair of Wakefield Together, Coun Peter Box said: “This new approach and extra funding means we can offer greater help to families facing difficulties.

“This includes those who have children not in school or living long-term on out-of-work benefits as well as those involved in crime or anti-social behaviour. Without help to turn their lives around, these families can plunge into further trouble and end up being a huge drain on the public purse.

“We want to get children into school, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and get the parents back on the road to work. It’s a tough call, but by working together I am confident we can make a difference.”

Wakefield Together – the local partnership of the council, West Yorkshire Police, Wakefield and District Housing, West Yorkshire Probation Service, health services and Jobcentre Plus – is proposing to appoint an externally-funded co-ordinator.

The project will receive support from the Government but the overall project funding will be dependent on the unit being able to demonstrate its success, showing how much money saved by doing things in a different way and how the families on the programme have benefited from the intervention.