Successful help for ‘troubled families’

Troubled families in the borough are being helped get back on their feet.

Latest figures show North Tyneside Council has successfully turned-around almost two thirds of the 460 local families it is working with through its ‘Supporting Families’ programme.

The project is a national drive to turn around 120,000 of England’s ‘most troubled and troublesome’ families.

The scheme seeks to get children back to school, adults back into work and reduce youth crime and anti-social behaviour, as well as reduce the high costs of such families to the public purse.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “These results are excellent news for our families and communities, and reflect the dedicated work of our Family Partners and other professionals who have worked tirelessly to support these households.

“This new way of working intensively with targeted families is clearly making a real difference and we are on track to achieve our target of successfully turning them all around by 2015.”

A total of 460 families were identified based on a range of government-set criteria, including school attendance, worklessness crime and anti-social behaviour.

The programme’s mantra is ‘one worker, one plan, one family’ – and whole households are allocated a single support worker, called a ‘Family Partner’.

This partner then works intensively with the family to make a plan for change.

The Short family from Howdon are just one of the local families that have been successfully supported to change.

Dad-of-four James, 35, was out of work. His children, all under the age of ten, were going to school but were regularly late.

James was suffering from poor mental health and his partner had left the family home, leaving James to care for the children on his own.

James was not familiar with the area they lived in and was keen to move near to his own family. He was also struggling to keep the inside and outside of his home in order.

As a result, the Short family were identified as a ‘family in need’ and were allocated a support worker called a ‘Family Partner’.

James said: “I’m really grateful for the support of the Family Partner and the team that has worked with us.

“I didn’t realise how bad things had got, and felt like I couldn’t cope.

“When the Family Partner came to help us, she was really honest and I felt I could trust her. Because of her help, I’ve been able to take one thing at a time and make lots of changes. Our family is much happier now and much more settled.”