As reported by BBC news, the government’s Troubled Families project is getting a £165m cash boost to ensure it can continue
The scheme was launched by David Cameron in 2012 and targets families with multiple and complex social and health issues. The programme was set up by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government in response to the 2011 riots in English cities, at a cost of £448m.
It was revamped in 2015, with the aim of helping 400,000 families by 2020. About £920m has been spent since then, averaging about £157.6m, a year, with councils being paid on the basis of their results in helping the most vulnerable families.
Existing support for the project was due to run out later this year. However, communities secretary Robert Jenrick said it had proved a success in transforming lives and relieving the burden on public services.
Anne Longfield, the children’s commissioner for England, said the government announcement was “welcome” but needed to be followed by “long term and extended funding commitments” in this year’s spending review.
Writing on Twitter, she highlighted the “vital” role children’s centres and so-called family hubs played in the initiative.
However, in 2016 a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research concluded that the initiative had had no measurable effect on school attendance, employment or behaviour and former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested last year that the scheme had become a high-profile “distraction” and some of its targets were “slightly nebulous”.
But ministers said an evaluation published last April demonstrated that the programme had reduced the proportion of children going into care by a third, reduced the proportion of adults going to prison by a quarter and had cut the number of adults claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Their latest analysis suggests 297,733 families have “made improvements” with the problems that led to them joining the programme since 2015. In 26,848 of these families, one or more adults has moved off benefits and into work.