Family intervention projects help 5,000 so far

October 10, 2009 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

A scheme to help families at risk that was headlined in a recent speech by the prime minister currently helps 5,000 people.

In his address to the Labour party conference last month Gordon Brown said family intervention partnerships could save Britain up to three billion pounds “in the long run.”

The projects, which began in 2007, use support alongside sanctions to provide families with “incentives to change”.

An “assertive key worker” plays a “pivotal, challenging and coordinating role” in the projects ‘gripping’ the whole family, and the agencies involved with them.

In his speech in Brighton in September, Brown added: “I’m excited by the lives we could change.

“So I can announce today that the parents of any child guilty of anti-social behaviour will now be automatically subject to a parenting contract.

“These are binding contracts which require people to take one-to-one support or lose their benefits.

“And I can announce today that we will double the number of these family intervention projects so that for the 50,000 most chaotic families and their 100,000 children there will be clear rules, and clear punishments if they don’t comply.”

Former Tory MP Bob Spink, who now sits as an Independent, asked in a written question how many family intervention projects have been set up already.

Schools minister Vernon Coaker replied:

“There are currently 164 Family Intervention Projects (FIPs).

“The majority of these provide support on an outreach basis, supporting families in their own home.

“There are currently six projects that run core, residential units.

“Essex has two FIPs based in Harlow and Tendering, both of which provide an outreach service.

“FIPs are a key part of Government policy to support families at risk.”

The cost of Gordon Brown’s plans to help 50,000 families in the next five years would cost £26 million spent in 2010/11 and £36 million in 2011/12.

According to the Home Office, problem families can disrupt the quality of life of whole communities and make the lives of residents around them miserable. They also put themselves at risk of losing their home, their children at risk of being taken into care if it’s in their best interest or having enforcement action such as anti-social behaviour orders taken against them.

These families have and create multiple problems, and the way public services intervene currently is not always the most effective.

The cost to the taxpayer can be between £250,000 and £350,000 per family per year for a range of interventions by public services including social, children’s and housing services, policing, court services, criminal justice agencies and others.

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