18 November 2014

Struggling families helped as city team outperforms region

Commenting on new statistics that reveal Brighton & Hove is one of the best performing council’s in the South East under the Government’s Troubled Families programme, Cllr Sue Shanks said:

“We’re working with families that face multiple problems that could ultimately lead to a huge cost to the public purse and wasted lives.”

“Whether those issues are around parents needing support, children being excluded from school, mental illness as well as alcohol or drug abuse, these are all issues that can cause families real problems.

“In some cases these underlying problems can lead to anti-social behaviour that wrecks communities.

“Our Stronger Families, Stronger Communities workers are out there working hard with these families on the frontline and doing practical things like organising guitar lessons for a families’ child.

“This is outstanding work with partners that’s getting positive results working with some of the city’s most hard-pressed families and preventing anti-social behaviour being recycled from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”

Government figures have revealed that out of 675 families eligible for the programme in Brighton & Hove 417 have been turned around as at the end of August 2014. That is the highest rate in the South East with 11,000 families eligible across the region with 6,229 turned around.

For more information see Troubled Families

Real story

Alan and his wife have an autistic boy aged 10, a girl aged 11 and a teenage boy.  The youngest, who was only recently diagnosed with autism, had been violent at school towards teachers and other children as well as towards his mother.  He was facing the possibility of exclusion from school.

Alan’s girl had difficulty managing her emotions which meant any disagreement became an argument and could lead to uncontrolled shouting. This led to relationship difficulties with many friendships breaking down exacerbating her emotional problems.

Alan said: “It was really difficult and we didn’t know where to turn for help.  The violence was upsetting for the whole family and especially my wife who bore the brunt of it. It got so bad that some days we would have to hold down our younger boy on the floor for two hours because of his anger – he was head butting, punching and spitting.

“We were at the end of our tether and didn’t know where to turn.

Rosie from the Stronger Families team helped us make contact with all the right local groups for support and advice and two years later our lives are unrecognisable.

“My boy has been diagnosed with autism, is in special school and has joined a boxing gym so I would say his violence has gone from 10 to almost zero. My daughter gets counselling and is much better at controlling her emptions so she is also making and keeping friends which is fantastic.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Rosie and the team who have helped turn our lives around.”

Alan is not his real name