Hundreds of troubled families back on track

News story
News story

NEARLY 80 per cent of Wigan’s struggling families have been helped to get back on track, earning the council more than £500,000 in the process.

The authority’s Confident Families programme has been given £528,700 of governmental money as an incentive successfully helping 78 per cent of its subjects reduce anti-social or criminal behaviour, avoid truancy, or move away from benefits and get into employment.

As a result, 584 families have been deemed as no longer being in trouble out of a target of 755.

The council has also been awarded attachment fees - which cover up-front costs to support families - of £1,624,800.

This money has been used to source additional staff in Early Intervention and Prevention services to increase capacity to support families; commissioning additional community services for victims of domestic abuse; supporting training programmes; offering emergency funds for items such as household goods, school uniforms etc and increasing the capacity of the Family Intervention Programme.

Coun Jo Platt, cabinet member for children and families, said: “Wigan Council’s Confident Families programme is having a positive impact in the local community – helping hundreds of families to turn their lives around and thrive. I’m extremely pleased with the progress of this programme and the impact it’s having on families.”

The scheme has helped Sally Keane (not her real name) and her family who were identified due to poor school attendance and Anti-Social Behaviour.

Sally was 16 and pregnant and finding school hard. Her dad John (name also altered) had been in trouble for committing anti-social behaviour and had to be removed from the school premises.

A keyworker worked with the whole family to understand the issues that impacted on Sally’s behaviour and a contract was put into place with the family around a series of identified outcomes.

Sally explained that she found studying hard and didn’t think anyone was listening to her and what she wanted.

She was supported to move to Central Park, in Montrose Avenue, to undertake a foundation learning course.

She had a baby girl and soon returned to college, and she was also supported to register for Sure Start at the local Children’s Centre.

The programme has also helped the Smith family, who were identified due to school attendance problems, anti-social behaviour and unemployment.

Mum Catherine, whose name has been changed, has mental health issues, and is a single parent with three children on the autistic spectrum. There has been domestic abuse with previous partners.

A multi-agency team led by the Troubled Families worker and including the paediatrician, health visitor, and the school agreed a multi-agency plan for the family.