Suffolk: More than 500 troubled families offered help in bid to cut crime and decrease burden on taxpayer

Troubled families to be offered extra support

Troubled families to be offered extra support - Credit: PA

Nearly 200 of Ipswich’s most troublesome families are being given help to turn their lives around as part of a government bid to cut crime and anti-social behaviour.

They are among more than 500 countywide currently receiving help under the Troubled Families Initiative. And bosses behind the drive say progress is being made.

The scheme – launched last year – aims to bring structure to 120,000 problem families nationally, as well as decrease their burden on the taxpayer.

In Suffolk it is estimated there are 1,150 families with entrenched issues. These include persistent truancy, anti-social behaviour, crime, substance misuse and long-term unemployment.

Allan Cadzow, assistant director of children and young person services at Suffolk County Council, said: “We are making progress.

“We have been able to turn around some of the difficult families.

“The children are going to school. The amount of anti-social behaviour has been very significantly reduced and families are beginning to get back into work.”

Most Read

Figures released by Suffolk Police in April revealed there were 40,009 crimes recorded in the county from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 – 5,632 fewer crimes than the same period last year.

Mr Cadzow said the families the scheme was helping families which experienced “a lot of difficulties themselves and cause other people a lot of difficulty as well”.

Currently a raft of agencies are working with 522 families in Suffolk, of which 193 (37%) are within the borough of Ipswich.

The next highest number is in Waveney where work is being undertaken with 124 of them. There are also 49 families in Babergh, 48 in St Edmundsbury, 41 in Suffolk Coastal, 37 in Forest Heath, and 30 in Mid Suffolk, currently under the wing of the initiative.

Mr Cadzow said: “The most significant number of families are in Ipswich and Lowestoft, which have the most deprived communities.

“We expect as we look more closely across the county we will find more families who meet the criteria.

“I think it’s important to understand that the approach in Suffolk is about trying to change the way services are working with families.

“We are actually trying to change the way frontline workers intervene with these families so when the money is no longer there we are left with a useful approach to help them.

“Turning this around is a longer-term process. I’m not expecting a huge number of quick wins on this, but to build success over time.

“You don’t solve complex and entrenched problems overnight.

“I’m very pleased with how quickly results have come in Lowestoft with families we have intervened with and we want to build on that success. We are starting to make progress in Ipswich as well.”

The government has said it is committed to help 120,000 troubled families turn their lives around by 2015.

What do you think of the scheme? E-mail or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.