13 August 2015

A targeted early help programme has helped to transform the lives of more than 1,200 families in Northamptonshire.

The aim of the project is to work with families facing difficulties, supporting them in getting children back into school, helping adults into employment and cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour.

Through targeted one-to-one support over the three-year programme, Northamptonshire County Council and partners including schools and colleges, police, Northamptonshire Youth Offending Service, Action for Children, Catch 22 and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust have achieved 100% of their target number of families set for Northamptonshire by the Government.

The programme was funded by the Government on a payment-by-results basis, generating over £1.2m for the work in Northamptonshire.

Next phase

The county council and its partners are now working on phase 2 of the programme, which aims to turn around 4,190 families by 2020 and which could attract funding of up to £7.2m.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “This project has resulted in some truly fantastic work with families in Northamptonshire who, for a variety of reasons, needed some extra help and support.

“These parents and young people welcomed the support and worked closely with their case workers to take this opportunity to turn their lives around.

“It is wonderful to hear that the young people involved in the programme are now doing better at school, not getting into trouble with the police and building better relationships with their parents, and I look forward to extending this help to many more families across Northamptonshire with the next phase.”

Louise Casey, head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Northamptonshire team has now turned around the lives of so many troubled families in the county. That’s more than 1,200 families where kids are back in school and youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been cut, and in over 150 of these homes an adult has moved off benefits and into work.

“The council and key workers deserve enormous credit but most of all I want to congratulate the families themselves who have had the courage to change and give their children a better chance in life.”

Case study

Rebecca was referred to the early help programme for help with her 14-year-old son. She received support under the family intervention programme, delivered by Action for Children on behalf of the county council.

Rebecca, from Northampton, said: “He was causing a lot of problems. He had been permanently excluded from school and had just been arrested. I was at the point where I didn’t know what else I could do.

“Since last July we have been working closely with Emma from the family intervention programme and he has really turned a corner. He had a lot of respect for her and his attitude is completely different now.

“She’s also really helped me and together we’ve worked on some positive parenting. Instead of shouting and arguing with him, we talk to each other.

“He is now looking to go back to mainstream school and he’s doing brilliantly. I didn’t think there was any help out there, but I was wrong. I’d encourage any family who is offered this support to take it, it really has changed our lives.”