The BBC has reported that David Cameron is to announce a £448m plan, which aims to identify and get help to the most troubled families in England. A network of 'troubleshooters' will be given responsibility for locating and co-ordinating help for these families, who face multiple challenges such as addiction, criminal involvement, poor health and unemployment.
The Prime Minister would benefit from spending a little time with Sarah and Jane, two of our excellent family workers in Derby.
They are part of Addaction’s Breaking the Cycle programme in the city - a service that helps and supports the whole family when a parent has a drug or alcohol problem. It is producing exceptional results. Sarah and Jane know only too well the damage alcohol and drug misuse does to a family, but they also know that the work they are doing is making a difference.
Breaking the Cycle does more than tackle an addiction. It gets kids (who often stay with grandparents, or other family members) back with their mum and dad. It gets them back into school. It removes conflict and tension in the family. It gets parents into a position where they can nurture and support their children.
It's also efficient. These families can be involved with upwards of 15 agencies, from those providing housing support to Social Services. Workers like Sarah and Jane organise this network of support, and help families make sense of it all.
And it’s cost effective too. Just £3500 over twelve months will turn the life of a troubled family around.
It would seem to me that Breaking the Cycle fits the Prime Minister's new plans perfectly. And I would say to him that, if you can't find time to come and see the projects for yourself, you might like to watch a short film that we've produced, which shows the great work that Sarah, Jane and others at Addaction are doing.