A major initiative to support vulnerable families in Herefordshire has been launched by Louise Casey, head of the Government’s troubled families programme, when she visited the county.
Herefordshire’s work with individuals and families in difficulty has already been recognised nationally: last November Communities Secretary Eric Pickles publically praised the work of the council’s programme. Figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed that 18 months into the three-year programme, 278 familes are being worked with in Herefordshire and over 125 have turned their lives around. This has resulted in children attending school regularly, levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour being significantly reduced, and adults from some of the households now in work or on the road back to employment.
Louise Casey, leading on the national troubled families initiative visited the county and talked to people who work with families in difficulty about some of the particular issues we face in Herefordshire.
She addressed a range of staff across partner agencies including schools, police, voluntary and community groups, housing organisations, the NHS and the council about the importance of putting families first, not solely the child or adult they might initially be asked to work with. Louise challenged everyone to seize the opportunity to make a fundamental difference with families so that the generational problems that some families experience can be ended.
Philippa Granthier, Families First lead for Herefordshire, said: “Louise Casey’s visit was such a boost for staff working with these families. Louise demonstrated her passion and determination to support these families. She has a long experience of working in top levels of government on tackling anti-social behaviour, poverty, housing issues and we really valued the opportunity to learn from her.
Councillor Jeremy Millar, cabinet member for young people and children’s wellbeing, said: “Helping families to be safe, healthy and independent and for children to have a great start in life are the top priorities for the council and we want to build on the success we have had so far in helping some of those families in difficulty get back on track. We don’t see the families we work with as ‘troubled.’ We firmly believe that many of these families are able to change their lives if they have the right support.”