Cornwall’s Together for Families partnership has been praised for its work in turning around the lives of almost 1,000 families with the most complex needs over the last three years. This is following the introduction of the Government’s Troubled Families programme in April 2012, Cornwall Council and its partners have worked hard to help 975 families to get back on track.
The aim of the three-year national “Troubled Families” programme, support local organisations which are working with families identified as having the most complex needs. Under the programme key workers from a range of services work with families to identify the support they need to address their problems and then help them to access a package of both mainstream and specialist support.
Though in Cornwall we did not like the negative title of ‘Troubled Families’ and have instead called it a more positive name of ‘Together for Families.
In Cornwall, the partnership includes Cornwall Council, Devon and Cornwall Police, Health commissioners, Probation, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team, Education Welfare, Youth Offending team, Careers South West and representatives of the voluntary and community sector (including Action for Children and Addaction). This partnership shows by organisations working together, we can make a positive difference to people’s lives.
The success of the programme in Cornwall means we have been able to work with local services to make the changes that are required to provide timely and efficient support for those families with the most complex needs. Working with the families directly enables the partner agencies to help overcome the difficulties the families face. The results of this programme shows that tackling the issues as a family unit helps achieve real positive outcomes.
Following Cornwall’s success in achieving positive outcomes for over 75% of eligible families, Cornwall will now progress to the second phase of the programme which runs from 2015 to 2020. The new programme will build on the achievements of the first phase, with the target of supporting an additional 4,050 families in Cornwall over the next five years (689 in 2015/16).
This will mean continuing to work with key partners in Police, Health, Education and Employment to identify and engage eligible families and working with communities and voluntary sector partners to get people into work, improve school attendance and attainment, reduce crime and antisocial behavior and tackle health issues including drug and alcohol dependency.
The second phase will continue to provide an opportunity for partner organisations to work closer together to support communities and families in Cornwall and to become better and smarter at how we deliver services. This will enable us to meet the needs of these families at the same time as saving money across the public sector. This is important as we have less money, but a greater demand on our service and we will need to engage with families by supporting them to address a range of complex issues at the same time as getting services to think and work differently with families.
I would like to congratulate all who have worked on this programme; as without their zeal, determination and willingness to do things differently, the programme in Cornwall would not be the success it is. Well done. We now move on to phase two, which in itself brings more challenges, but if we have the same determination to make people’s lives better as we did in phase one, then we will only help more people.
Further information on the Together for Families Programme, which is designed to deliver the national ‘Troubled Families’ Agenda, is available from http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/togetherforfamilies