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Scheme to help troubled families could save Council £12m
A scheme helping the district’s most troubled families is already in line to save the taxpayer nearly £4 million a year, a new report reveals.
And Bradford Council’s Childrens & Young People’s services estimates £11,768,064 could be saved during the three-year project.
Bradford’s Families First (BFF) initiative targets dysfunctional families and gives them in-depth support to help them turn their lives around.
So far, 281 local families have improved their lives through BFF, which is run by the Council, West Yorkshire Police, Jobcentre Plus and other agencies.
According to a report giving its early results, 40 families had reduced their anti-social behaviour, 168 had improved their children’s school attendance and 141 had reduced levels of youth crime.
Savings include £1,878,878 in social services and other local authority costs, £508,859 in police work, £391,430 in prison costs, £939,432 in benefits payments, and £156,572 in health care The project has found that while support had already been available to troubled families, in many cases parents weren’t accepting the help.
The report says: “One of the early findings from Families First in Bradford is that support and advice is available to the families but it isn’t effective because parents don’t accept.
“They can be reluctant, resistant, have poor prior experiences of the service or are not coping due to being overwhelmed with the challenges and pressures of daily living.”
The Council said it is on track to help 1,760 families over three years in the scheme, part of the National Troubled Families Programme.
The households are identified as ‘troubled families’ if they meet certain criteria such as children who have been excluded from school or who are young offenders.
Or there may have been reports of domestic violence or anti-social behaviour from the household.
The initiative was launched by the Government, which was concerned at the cost of dysfunctional families.
A young person in prison costs the taxpayer between £59,000 and £219,000 each year, while a domestic violence incident costs an average of £18,730 in police, healthcare and court costs.
A Council spokesman said: “Families First aims to transforms lives by improving attendance at school, reduce exclusions from school, reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and help people into training and employment.”
But Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the Council said that she was concerned that not all of the 1,760 families would be helped within the three-year life of the project.
She said: “They’ve only done about 16 per cent of the target. My concern is that we miss out and that families miss out because of the rate of progress.”
Coun Roger L’amie, the Conservative spokesman for Children’s Services, said initial savings could be reinvested in the project.
The report will go before the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday.
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