Half way through the three-year programme, figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show that councils are working with 62,000 families across the country to address entrenched social problems, of which 22,000 have been deemed to have had their lives turned around as a result of their involvement.
Under the scheme, families are said to have been turned around if some or all of seven key criteria are met: these include children returning to education, instances of crime and antisocial behaviour involving family members being reduced, and unemployed parents finding work.
Councils receive £4,000 for each family that is turned around, with a proportion of the fee only being received when the key criteria are met.
The figures also reveal that 92,000 of the 120,000 troubled families the government initially earmarked for the scheme have been identified by councils.
Sir Merrick Cockell, chairman of the Local Government Association, said the latest figures vindicated the government’s decision to place councils at the centre of delivering the programme.
He said: “Improving lives goes to the heart of what councils do, and the Troubled Families programme has built on the excellent work councils were already doing to better co-ordinate support across the public sector for families who need it.
“The progress being made demonstrates the huge difference councils can make in this area when given the necessary powers and adequate resources.”
Wandsworth, Newcastle, Leicestershire and Wakefield councils were four areas highlighted by the DCLG as making particularly good progress in turning around families.
Louise Casey, head of the Troubled Families programme, said: “This programme is getting to grips with families who for too long have been allowed to be caught up in a cycle of despair. These results show that a tough, intensive but supportive approach has a big impact.”
Earlier this year, the government announced £200m of additional funding to extend the Troubled Families programme to cover a further 280,000 families once the initial scheme ends in March 2015.
Anne Longfield, chief executive at charity 4Children, said while the figures were "encouraging" they also highlighted the inconsistent nature of the support available in different areas.
She added: "Some areas are making good progress while others are yet to help any families to successfully turn around.
“Support is effective when services and professionals work together to provide the joined-up and personalised support that families need. That means family support teams, social services, health, housing and Job Centre Plus working together relentlessly to help families to flourish."
- See more at: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1140696/councils-troubled-families