Scheme to turn around struggling families among best in UK

A West Sussex scheme that helps families change their lives for the better has been highlighted as one of the best of its kind in the country.

The West Sussex Think Family Partnership, led by West Sussex County Council, is the local version of the Government’s Troubled Families initiative and works with families most in need of help and support.

The partnership works by assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems, such as ensuring that children attend school, parents get back to work, addressing anti-social behaviour and generally helping families to turn their lives around.

It includes a range of organisations and people, including district and borough councils, police, schools, health as well as volunteers from the community.

Overall, Think Family has turned the lives around of 774 families in West Sussex so far. The scheme was also recently singled out as being the top in the country for supporting families back into work, so far helping 389 people back into employment.

Phase Two of the programme, which is due to come into effect in 2015, will see the West Sussex Think Family Partnership work with even more families to help them overcome complex problems.

The Government has singled out the West Sussex Partnership to take on the role of an ‘Early Starter’, which means it will work with a further 600 West Sussex families before the national programme rolls out in April 2015.

Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for start of life – children, said: “This is really great news and something we are incredibly proud of.

“We’re working with partners to change lives for the better. Our success shows that investing early to support those families who need help and support the most really does work.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: “It is excellent news that West Sussex Think Family Partnership is to receive more funding in order to continue their intervention work with vulnerable families and those individuals in most need.

“The Partnership deserves credit for taking up the challenge of the Government’s Troubled Families scheme and the initiative in West Sussex has shown promising results so far.

“By providing the right intervention and support this programme gives hope and opportunity to the families involved.”

Chief superintendent Martin Walker, Sussex Police Divisional Commander for West Sussex and chair of the Think Family Partnership Board added: “The Think Family Programme works. Families are at peace; children are back at school; parents are in work; and crime and disorder has reduced. We are seeing families and communities restored, providing the environment for children to grow into responsible citizens.

“I am excited we can now give hope to another 4,060 families in West Sussex.”

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