NINE hundred more ‘troubled families’ will be targeted in Bradford after David Cameron hailed an existing project a “success”.
The Council is among 51 local authorities picked to spearhead an expansion of the scheme to turn around the lives of problem households.
At present, the programme helps the poor and low-skilled, in particular people in poor quality housing, with long-standing disabilities or mental health problems.
Now the expansion will see case workers also work intensively where there are problems of domestic violence, debt and children at risk of being taken into care.
Bradford will help lead the expansion after reporting that 1,086 of 1,760 troubled families in the city had already had their lives “turned around”.
The Prime Minister said the scheme was “tackling the underlying problems” - instead of simply sending in police, or social workers.
And he said: “Some people said it wouldn’t work, that we couldn’t create an intervention that would help turn these families around - but the results are clear.
“More children going to school, fewer crimes, less anti-social behaviour and more than 53,000 of these troubled families turned around. There is no doubt that this programme is a success.”
However, according to the latest figures, only 22 of those 1,086 “turned around” families in Bradford have someone in a steady job.
Such low success rates have prompted criticism that it is too easy for families to be described as rescued, even when there are still big problems.
The National Audit Office (NAO) warned the scheme is “underperforming”, pointing to “poor co-ordination” after it was quickly put into place following the 2011 riots.
And it pointed out that a family can be counted as being “turned around” if it shows improvement in just one of seven areas.
Councils are paid up to £4,000 for each family they help. At the start, 80 per cent - or £3,200 – was paid upfront, reducing to 40 per cent in 2014/15.
But the Government said 300 specialist ‘employment advisers’ will now work with young people at risk of joblessness, in the 51 areas.
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford’s executive member for children, said: “We will be working with an additional 900 families over the next five years.
“We focus on trying to get families off benefits and either into training or work; to improve children's attendance at school and prevent them from being excluded; and to reduce anti-social behaviour.
“Our teams work with the family as a whole, rather than on the problems of individuals, building up trust to make step-by-step changes.”
The expansion was announced in a “families” speech, in which Mr Cameron also announced a trial of age ratings for online music videos, to protect children.