Home / Family Articles / Troubled Families Programme

Troubled Families Programme

Troubled Families Programme

Written by:

The Troubled Families Programme is a government initiative that aims to help families facing a number of complex problems. David Cameron introduced the Programme in 2010 with the goal of transforming the lives of ‘troubled families’. Following the London riots of 2011 a larger emphasis was placed on the scheme with £448million being shared between England’s local authorities to deal with the issue.

How does it work?

Rather than rely on different agencies to deal with a range of problems a family might face, the Programme pays councils to work directly with a family across all of their problems, which might include unemployment, truancy and poverty. Families are assessed and have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the Programme. Each family is allocated a key worker and is given practical support, advice and counselling. In return parents must agree to take charge of unruly children, getting them into school. Sanctions can be imposed on families that don’t keep their end of an agreement and in the most severe cases children can be taken into local authority care if no improvements are made. The scheme currently only operates in England and in many areas of the country has seen taxpayers save an average of £11,200 per family.


Troubled Families ProgrammeWhen it was set up, the Programme aimed to help 120,000 troubled families in England by 2015. In March this year then Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told the House of Commons that the scheme was on target and that 90% of families identified as requiring help had had their lives turned around. The success of the Programme has been recognised with a further £200million of funding being allocated to extend the scheme between 2015 and 2020. This will allow 400,000 more families to be targeted.


When the Troubled Families Programme was launched it aimed to cut anti-social behaviour, reduce levels of truancy in children and get unemployed parents back into work. The Programme is targeted at families with an average of nine ‘significant’ problems. These can include things like unemployment, mental illness, domestic violence, drug abuse and truancy. Children from families with multiple problems often have poor outcomes, falling into a cycle where they achieve poor results in school, get involved in crime and may be taken into care. The Troubled Families Programme identifies families with complex problems and targets them for help, improving the lives of adults and children. Through reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour, the scheme also helps local communities.


Troubled families can cost society a large amount of money through drug and alcohol misuse, crime and child protection issues. Before this scheme was launched, different agencies would deal with the same family on different issues, meaning that more money was being spent than was needed. The Troubled Families Programme allows councils to streamline services so that costs are reduced while families still get all the help and support they need. Working in this manner allows agencies to get to the root of problems and sort them out rather than working reactively.



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

View all posts by