Friday, December 16, 2011

Will David Cameron's plan to help "troubled families" work?

There is a thoughtful post on Liberal Conspiracy (now, now) by Don Paskini.

Discussing David Cameron plans to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to turn around the lives of 120,000 "troubled families", he points out that colossal sums our already spent on just these families:
The £9 billion which is spent on these ‘problem/troubled’ families is an average of £75,000 per family. 
Very little of this money actually goes to the families. Instead it goes on things like court appearances, eviction notices, arrears notices, police intervention, child protection orders and parenting orders, and the salaries of a whole range of professionals who work in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
And he goes on to provide one answer to the question of why this money has so little effect when he points out that these professionals spend 80% of their time on servicing bureaucratic systems, and only 20% building relations with families.

But the malaise has deeper roots than that, and Paskini points us to a telling anecdote from David Robinson:
I was recently called by the mother of a child I know well. She was asking me to come to a family case conference. She read me the letter. No fewer than nine professionals were expected to attend so I asked why she needed me there as well. 
“Because,” she said, “I want someone who is on my side.”

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

I shuddered when I heard Cameron talking about that plan. Reminds me of the days when youth clubs were run by volunteers, which in my area were church based; scouts and guides were also church based in that area. Then the Local Authority decided that bureaucrats had to be involved and it was only those groups affiliated to strong national organisations (e.g. scouts and guides and their like) that survived. Given that Cam also pushes the Big Society concept, will he promote the front line of the so-called third sector (i.e. volunteers) to mentor these families and be on their side?