A team of four family support workers will help vulnerable families to turn their lives around, avoiding the need for them to deal with several different agencies.
Known as Supporting Leicestershire Families (SLF), the county-wide service brings together the county and district councils, the police, the NHS and other agencies, to help 500 families each year.
It is part of a Government initiative.
In Leicestershire, vulnerable families currently cost the taxpayer £158 million per year, through benefits, health problems, care cases and other interventions from national and local agencies.
It is estimated SLF will eventually save £50 million, or more than £20,000 per family, by providing better, more targeted services.
Teresa Neal, senior family support worker at Blaby District Council, said:
“This is an ambitious initiative that will make a real difference to families who need support. We want to break the cycle, where generations of families feel they are locked into their problems.
“Instead of having to deal with lots of different agencies, families are assigned their own support worker, who can really get to know them and offer whatever help is required, however long it is required for.
“This could be anything from help with parenting to support in finding jobs and training. It will make a real difference to the families, improve services and, over time, save millions of pounds.”
The SLF team at Blaby District Council held an educational workshop for around 40 head teachers in order to inform and discuss how the new scheme will run. A pilot for Leicestershire, it has been proposed the workshop will be rolled out across the county.
Research on Leicestershire’s most complex families shows that:
- 80 per cent are out of work or have low income or benefits
- 61 per cent have a parent with a substance misuse problem
- 48 per cent have a family member who is or was an offender
- 59 per cent are lone parent households
Families receive help either by being referred by one of the member agencies, or by referring themselves.
The SLF team at Blaby District Council has launched a new telephone number to contact the Family Support Workers directly – 0116 272 7755.
For more information you can also visit www.blaby.gov.uk/slf or email firstname.lastname@example.org