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Extent of problem families revealed

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England has some 117,000 families with ‘multiple problems’ according to statistics published by the Department forEducation.

The data – which includes council-by-council estimates and numbers of families actually helped by intervention programmes – have been revealed along with an evaluation of Family Pathfinder pilots. The criteria for multiple problems is described as families with “five or more disadvantages”, such as poverty, unemployment, mental health issues, and a lack of qualifications.

However the figures also place into stark relief the number of families expected to benefit from community-budgets-funded intervention programmes.

Documents seen by LGC in April this year suggested that just 6.6% of families with multiple problems would be helped by the pilot programme in the current year. The latest figures show that nationally there are more than four-times as many families with multiple problems as there are in the community budget pilot areas.

Unsurprisingly, because of its size, Birmingham City Council has the most problem families – up to 4,210, according to today’s new figures (see file at right). Kent CC has the next highest level – some 2,580.

City of London Corporation, the Council of the Isles of Scilly, and Rutland CC ranked lowest, all with less than 30 problem families.

Parallel information about the number of problem families offered interventions as of March last year, also showed a very patchy national picture.

Norfolk CC topped the list, with 183, followed by Manchester City Council with 159. Birmingham’s interventions, by contrast, numbered 44.

DfE also released an evaluation of Family Pathfinder and Young Carer Pathfinder programmes run between 2007 and last year, which revealed financial returns of £1.90 for every £1 spent on the former.

Manchester and Norfolk had both run Young Carers Pathfinders.


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