Tag Archives: Eric Pickles

Trouble in the Troubled Families Department

I have a sort of Love-Hate relationship with the Trouble Families Programme and so I like to keep abreast of developments and opinion as it unfolds, for instance the announcement last week on September 10th that 14,000 families have now been ‘turned around’.

I am torn between the belief that intensive family support can be extremely productive – and that this is in fact what brought many folk into social work in the first place – and the concern about the turn such a model of intervention has taken on the current government’s watch. Intensive Family Support Programmes have a proud heritage and it is from them, significantly, that we have learnt much about children’s violence to parents in the UK. Continue reading

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Pointing the finger at “Troubled Families”

The media buzzes again today with discussion about help for Cameron’s 120,000 “troubled families”. (BBC article here)

The term itself has fallen into disrepute, not least since revelations regarding the integrity of the statistical base for the government’s claims. (Tim Harford’s excellent radio article here) However, we are in danger of focusing so much on the blatant disregard of facts that we forget that there are indeed many families in dire need of help, whether the 120,000 experiencing multiple disadvantage, or the families (quantity unknown) about whom Cameron was actually talking. There will, presumably, be some overlap, but the suggestion that being poor, unwell or disabled, and in substandard housing, automatically qualifies you as a “neighbour from hell” is deeply offensive. In a post today, Declan Gaffney suggests that the situation could be easily redeemed, and our attention refocused presumably, if government spokespeople would only admit to the flaws. Continue reading


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