15 Dec 2011

Cameron to tackle ‘problem families’

Prime Minister David Cameron announces a £448m plan to help 120,000 families by setting up a national network of “troubleshooters” appointed by local councils.

Cameron to tackle 'problem families' (getty)

Mr Cameron set out plans to reform a system he describes as involving a “string of well-meaning, disconnected officials” treating the “symptoms and not the causes” in difficult households.

In a speech to an audience of charities and voluntary organisations, the prime minister said that a national network of “troubleshooters” will be appointed by local councils to work with “problem families”.

He said: “For many of the most troubled families, there will be a family worker – a single point of contact for the first time for particular families, working out what the family needs, where the waste is and lining up the right services at the right time.

“When the front door opens and the worker goes in, they will see the family as a whole and get a plan of action together, agreed with the family. This will often be basic, practical things that are the building blocks of an orderly home and a responsible life.

“These things don’t always cost a lot but they make all the difference. And they will get on top of the services, sorting out – and sometimes fending off – the 28 or more different state services that come calling at the door.

Read more: one family's story of chaos and redemption

Mr Cameron said last December that he wanted to “turn round every troubled family in the country” by the end of the current parliament, and in October appointed Louise Casey as the head of a new “troubled families team”.

Downing Street said that troubled families cost the taxpayer an estimated £9bn a year, equivalent to £75,000 per family.