More than 800 "troubled families" in Wolverhampton have been given the help and support they need to turn their lives around.

Wolverhampton City Council's Families in Focus programme has reached its 3 year target to help 810 families 3 months ahead of schedule - meaning more families will now be able to benefit from support and guidance through the scheme.

Families in Focus was launched in 2012 as part of the Government's 3 year Troubled Families programme - and latest figures show that 810 Wolverhampton families identified as needing support have been successfully "turned around", with levels of youth crime, anti social behaviour and truancy cut and parents put on the path back to employment.

More than 20 agencies, including the council, Wolverhampton Homes, JobCentre Plus, the police, health services and voluntary and community organisations, have been working with families through the programme, providing "tough love" in the form of supportive and practical help.

And since 2012, they have helped 127 families back into work and a further 86 onto training programmes, of which 55 have subsequently secured employment. In addition, nearly 700 families were given support to address issues around crime or anti social behaviour, or poor attendance at school.

As a result of these successes, the programme has now been extended for at least another 12 months, meaning hundreds more families will receive the support they need to get back on the straight and narrow.

There are many reasons why people may require help through the Families in Focus programme. In some instances, family members may be struggling with drink or drug abuse, they may have debt problems or poor job prospects, or parents may not be able to control their children or ensure they attend school. In other instances, people may have been subject to or witnesses of domestic violence.

The Government estimates that responding to the problems caused by troubled families costs taxpayers £75,000 per family per year.

Councillor Val Gibson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "The Families in Focus programme has had a tremendous impact on families in Wolverhampton who are struggling to function properly for one reason or another.

"The agencies involved have worked very hard with some of our most under pressure families, and we have successfully reached our target of helping 810 families in 3 years. I'd like to thank our partners for their efforts, and the families themselves for facing up to their problems and getting on with their lives.

"By reaching our target early, we are able to press on and help more families than originally anticipated, and because we've been given funding to continue the programme for at least another 12 months, we're planning on broadening the scope of Families in Focus to support people facing other problems, such as poor health.

"We've also put a framework in place which embeds this new way of working into the processes of the council and its partners.

"Families in Focus is great news not just for the families involved, but for the city as a whole as it will contribute to a reduction in youth crime and anti social behaviour, better attendance at school and more people in work. It will also reduce the burden on the taxpayer having to tackle the problems these families were experiencing."

  • released: Monday 2 March, 2015