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“listening to troubled families”

18 July 2012

A report by Louise Casey, an adviser to this government and the last on social issues, has been published today. It discusses the problems facing “troubled” families and proposes how to turn these families’ lives around.

Louise interviewed 16 families. It will surprise no one that she found unemployment, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency and educational failure, and that these problems had not begun recently, but had continued on from past generations. More interesting is her firm conviction that the way forward is not for new guidance, or structural reform. Progress is made on the front-line of service delivery. She wants skilled intervention workers to be dedicated to these families, to provide intensive support.

This recommendation has been criticised for being expensive. However, these 120,000 “troubled” families cost taxpayers £9bn every year. When you add the social and human cost to these purely financial figures, isn’t the truth more that we cannot afford the consequences of a failure to act?

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