Troubled families scheme extended

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen: Eric Pickles said work will begin in the next few months to help more families Eric Pickles said work will begin in the next few months to help more families

Vulnerable infants will be targeted as part of a major extension of the Coalition's programme to tackle troubled families, Eric Pickles has announced.

Under fives from struggling homes will be helped to give them a better chance in life, the Communities Secretary said as he confirmed that the intensive intervention scheme will be aimed at an extra 400,000 families.

Poor physical and mental health will also be at the forefront of the new push, and w ork is due to begin first in the 51 local authorities which have so far proved most successful with the scheme.

Mr Pickles said: "The troubled families programme has been a brilliant partnership between the Government and councils, changing the way services are run, saving taxpayers money and turning around the lives of some of the hardest to help in the country, with kids back in school, youth crime and anti-social behaviour cut and adults better able to work.

"Building on this momentum, we are now able to help even more families and deal with even more problems and I am delighted that that work will now begin in the next few months."

It comes after David Cameron insisted families should be at the heart of everything politicians do and announced that all policies will have to pass a "family friendly" test.

According to the Government, the programme - set up by the Prime Minister in the wake of the riots in London and other English cities in 2011 - is currently helping more than 110,000 of the most troubled families in England and 53,000 have had their lives "turned around".

Louise Casey, head of the troubled families programme, said: "Families with an average of nine different serious problems need help that gets in through the front door of their home and to the heart of what is really going on in their lives.

"The troubled families programme has been able to do that by taking a 'tough love' approach and dealing with the whole family and all of its problems.

"This has been the start of a revolution in the way that we work with our most challenging families and which we need to accelerate in the years ahead."

Families will have to be referred by specialist agencies for problems such as being involved in crime, affected by domestic violence or having children that do not attend school.

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