Communities and neighbourhoods

Troubled families


A troubled family is 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. A lot of time and money is spent by local service providers routinely responding to these problems.

Previous government research has highlighted that 2 per cent of families suffer significant multiple problems that in turn make them more likely to place demands on local services, such as health, social care and criminal justice. In England this equates to 120,000 families.

Government data collected in October and November 2011 estimated that £9 billion is spent annually on these 120,000 most troubled families. That works out as an average of £75,000 per family per year. Of this, £8 billion is spent on reacting to the troubles of these families with just £1 billion being spent trying to turn around their lives in a targeted, positive way.

What we are doing

The Government is committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families in England by 2015. This involves:

  • getting children back into school
  • reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour
  • putting adults on a path back to work
  • reducing the estimated £9 billion these families cost the public sector each year.

As part of the Troubled Families programme, the Government, alongside local authorities, will change their way of working with these families by:

  • joining up local services
  • dealing with each family's problems as a whole rather than individually
  • appointing a single key worker to get to grips with their problems and work intensively to help them change for the long term.

This approach is based on proven work with families such as family intervention projects.

The Government will contribute up to £4,000 per family towards the cost of successfully intervening with eligible families across England.

The programme was launched by the Prime Minister in December 2011 (seeĀ press notice, top right) and is led by Louise Casey CB. More details of how the programme will work can be found in the Q and A section below, together with case studies of successful family intervention programmes from around the country.

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