Independent, academic evaluation of Hampshire’ Supporting Troubled Families Programme has found that it is “promoting positive change in professional practice with families”.
This is just one of the key findings from a study by Professor Carol Hayden of the Portsmouth University, presented at a meeting of the Supporting Troubled Families Strategic Group. The meeting was attended, for the first time, by Joe Tuke, National Director for the Troubled Families Programme at the Department of Communities & Local Government.
Hampshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans, who chairs the Supporting Troubled Families Strategic Group, commented: “It is encouraging to see that the independent evaluation both highlights and emphasises the success of the Programme to date. We know that, one year on, four out of five of those families that we claimed a positive outcome for in May 2014, still have: improved school attendance for their children; reduced school exclusions, youth offending or anti social behaviour; and are remaining in work or training and no longer claiming an out of work benefit.”
Among the findings of the independent evaluation, Hampshire’s Programme has achieved:
– Substantial reductions in the prevalence of families with a child persistently absent from school
– Reduced likelihood of children needing to be taken in to care or becoming an open case to Children’s Social Services
– Avoidance of costs to the public purse of £2.4m per annum (conservative estimate)
– Increased confidence among professionals in working with the whole family
– Increased partnership working and inter-agency co-ordination and co-operation
The evaluation also found that families appreciated the family centred approach and the personal qualities and enthusiasm of staff working with them.
Cllr Mans added: “Professor Hayden’s evaluation is an independent endorsement of the good work we are doing and follows recognition from Ofsted who has said that Hampshire’s Programme is particularly well targeted and responsive to the needs of local families, with good take-up by those families who are most in need.”
Hampshire’s Supporting Troubled Families Programme exceeded its Phase One goal to identify and engage 1590 (troubled) families – identifying nearer to 2000 families. The success of Phase One meant that the Programme was able to commence Phase Two, three months ahead of schedule.
Phase Two of the Programme aims to engage with a further 1,200 Hampshire families in 2015/16 and each year thereafter, up to 2020, including those where violence in the home and health issues (mental and physical) are a feature. Families who are most at risk of eviction, or who are struggling financially will also be supported.