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Lives of 22,000 troubled families 'turned around'

The lives of 22,000 troubled families in England have been "turned around", according to the government. The announcement comes at the half-way stage of a three-year programme to tackle 120,000 families. The £448m scheme was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron following the 2011 riots in various English cities. The government defines troubled families as facing multiple problems including unemployment, anti-social behaviour and truancy. One estimate is that each troubled family costs taxpayers £75,000 a year. Under the Troubled Families programme, councils are paid up to £4,000 for each family that get off the "troubled" list, often by giving intensive, targeted support with all aspects of life. The government says that authorities are now working with 62,000 families - half the overall target - 18 months into the programme, which ends in 2015.

'Great strides'

Ministers say 22,000 families have been turned around with children in school, youth crime and anti-social behaviour significantly reduced and more than 1,400 adults in continuous work. The government defines troubled families as that meet specific criteria in the following areas:

1. Under-18s involved in crime and/or family member involved in anti-social behaviour
2. Child excluded from school or is a regular truant
3. An adult on benefits

Where families meet two of the criteria but are "a cause for concern", councils can rule that other factors - including health problems - mean are troubled families.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said Wakefield had turned around more than half of 930 troubled families and Leicestershire almost half of its 810. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the results so far showed that councils were making "great strides". "I am delighted that our programme is already helping half of our target of 120,000 troubled families at mid way stage," he said. "Councils are making great strides in a very short space of time, dealing with families that have often had problems and created serious issues in communities for generations." results show that problems can be dealt with through a no-nonsense and common-sense approach, bringing down costs to the taxpayer at the same time."

Louise Casey, head of the Troubled Families programme, said: " programme is getting to grips with families who for too long have been allowed to be caught up in a cycle of despair." results show that a tough, intensive but supportive approach has a big impact; giving hope and opportunity to the families and respite to the communities around ."

(Used with permission from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25081390 )