Troubled family culture revealed

An entrenched culture of abuse and welfare dependency of thousands of "troubled families" need to be fundamentally addressed to help them turn their lives around, according to the Government's adviser on the issue.

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Director of NIESR: Government distorts 'troubled families' data

The director of The National Institute of Economic and Social Research Jonathan Portes wrote a blog in February criticising the Government's approach to "troubled families". He wrote:

Under government criteria, a troubled family is one that meets five out of seven criteria: having a low income, no one in the family who is working, poor housing, parents who have no qualifications, where the mother has a mental health problem, one parent has a long-standing illness or disability, and where the family is unable to afford basics, including food and clothes.

What instantly leaps out from this list? It is that none of these criteria, in themselves, have anything at all to do with disruption, irresponsibility, or crime. Drug addiction and alcohol abuse are also absent.


Louise Casey's Troubled Families report lifts lid on problem households

A report into England's most troubled families has painted a grim picture of sexual abuse and welfare dependency going back generations.

Louise Casey, Head of a new Troubled Families Team Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/Press

In many households violence is endemic and "entrenched cycles of suffering problems and causing problems" poisons whole social networks.

The stark assessment came from David Cameron's troubled families tsar Louise Casey - who has been tasked with turning round the lives of the 120,000 most dysfunctional by 2015.

Ms Casey said: "None of the parents I spoke to wanted their children to repeat a life of chaos and trouble, but often they couldn't see how to put things right by themselves - they needed practical and persistent help to do so."

Government backs report on 'troubled families'

The Government has promised to pay upper-tier local authorities up to £4,000 per eligible family for reducing truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour, or putting parents back into work.

The programme's £ 448 million three-year budget is drawn from across seven departments in a bid to join up local services.

I welcome this report as an important part of that process as it provides a real insight into these families' dysfunctional lives.

My civil servants are not just sitting in an office in Whitehall telling local authorities what to do but seeking to gain a true understanding of the challenges they face.

– Communities Secretary Eric Pickles

Report paints picture of England's most troubled families

  • Head of new Troubled Families Team Louise Casey conducted more than a dozen in-depth interviews to compile her report into England's most troubled families.
  • She found that experiences were often passed from generation to generation, such as domestic and sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies, police call-outs and educational failure.
  • Other common themes included people having children very young, and large numbers of them - often with different partners.
  • The report backed tackling the inter-linked issues of a whole family, rather than dealing with single problems or single individuals within a household.

Shocking cases of child abuse 'in hell families'

The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse and sometimes child rape was striking and shocking.

It became clear that in many of these families the abuse of children by in many cases parents, siblings, half-siblings and extended family and friends was a factor in their dysfunction.

Some discussed it as if as it was almost expected and just a part of what they had experienced in life. Children often had not been protected by their parents.

In many of the families the sexual abuse repeated itself in the next generation... There were also incidents where families talked about incest.

– Louise Casey, Head of Troubled Families Team


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