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Targeted Family Support

The Targeted Family Support Programme is Devon’s response to the three year national Troubled Families Programme.

Previous research has highlighted that two per cent of families suffer significant multiple problems such as parents not working, children not in school and youth crime. This can make them more likely to place demands on local services, such as health, social care and criminal justice. The Government is committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 troubled families in England by 2015. This involves:

  • getting children back into school
  • reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour
  • putting adults on a path back to work
  • reducing the costs to the public sector that are associated with these families.

What is Devon doing?

Devon has set-up a Targeted Family Support Programme to work with families in Devon by:

  • joining up local services
  • dealing with each family’s problems as a whole rather than individually
  • identifying a single key worker to get to grips with their problems and work intensively to help them change for the long term.

This approach is based on proven work with families such as family intervention projects.

Find out more about the national Troubled Families Programme.

How does Targeted Family Support work?

The Targeted Family Support programme works to improve the lives of families in complex situations, where children may be out of education, parents are not in work or if there is crime and antisocial behaviour in the family.

Central Government has estimated that there are 120,000 troubled families in England, of which approximately 1,370 are in Devon County Council borders. A substantial amount of time and money is spent by local service providers responding to these families, particularly as a result of concerns about the safety of children, truancy, mental health, drug or alcohol dependency problems, serious debt or involvement in crime or nuisance behaviour.

By using a different approach to working with these families the programme aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Getting children back into the classroom
  • Getting parents back into work or on work programmes
  • Reducing anti-social behaviour in targeted families
  • Reducing the costs of dealing with troubled families on public services
  • Developing ways in which current services can be delivered in a more targeted and co-ordinated way to meet the needs of families, including the better sharing of information between partners.

There is a key expectation that each family will experience as a minimum:

  • an holistic assessment of family need
  • an assertive key worker who will work alongside the family for an extended time
  • a managed multi-agency approach, and
  • a sustainable exit strategy.

Overall the Targeted Family Support programme is directed by the Executive Leadership Group (ELG), which has a multi-agency membership. The ELG is responsible for the overall direction and management of the programme. View the list of organisations currently represented at the ELG.

The chair of the ELG and senior officer responsible for the programme is Phil Norrey Chief Executive, Devon County Council). The Project Lead for the programme is Philippa Court (Devon County Council) and the Project Manager for the programme is Jackie Shrimpton (Devon County Council). The Project Lead and the Project Manager are responsible for the running of the programme on a day to day basis.

What is happening in Devon?

Targeted Family Support operates across eight localities, which are based on the geographies of the eight Devon district councils. These are:

  • East Devon
  • Exeter
  • Teignbridge
  • West Devon
  • South Hams
  • Mid Devon
  • North Devon
  • Torridge

Each locality has now established a management group and a practitioner forum as well as appointing a local co-ordinator to make things happen in each area. Families have been identified through data systems and local knowledge.

For more information please email us.