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Interface Associates UK Ltd. Families with Multiple Problems Wendy Weal Managing Director. Poor parenting. No parent in the family is working. Family lives in poor-quality or overcrowded housing. Truancy, exclusion or low educational attainment. No parent has any qualifications.

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Interface associates uk ltd l.jpg

Interface Associates UK Ltd

Families with Multiple Problems

Wendy Weal

Managing Director

Who are families with multiple problems l.jpg

Poor parenting

No parent in the family is working

Family lives in poor-quality

or overcrowded housing

Truancy, exclusion or low

educational attainment

No parent has any qualifications

Family in debt

Drugs or alcohol misuse

At least one parent has a long-standing

limiting illness, disability or infirmity

Marriage, relationship

or family breakdown

Family has low income

(below 60% of the median)

Domestic violence

Family cannot afford a number

of food and clothing items

Child protection issues

Who are families with multiple problems?

Mother has mental health problems

Risk factors attributed to families with 5 or more disadvantages (from) Families At Risk: Background on families with multiple disadvantages, Social Exclusion Taskforce Research Report, 2007

Additional risk factors from families supported through family intervention (NatCen, Mar 2010).

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Families with Multiple Problems…

  • Growing up in a family with significant, social, health, economic and behavioural problems has lasting and inter-generational impact on a child’s life chances

  • Around 120k families in England experience multiple social, health and economic problems and 46k of these experience ‘problem’ child behaviour

  • Contribute to a wide range of social problems

  • Account for a large number of school exclusions, 1 in 5 youth offences, parents 34 times more likely to need drug treatment and 8 times more likely to need alcohol treatment and a third are subject to child protection

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Multiple funding/accountability has resulted in ineffective and expensive provision















Prisons /



YOS worker

CAMHS/ Mental Health Worker

Young carer

support worker

Police officer

Drug and alcohol team

Housing link worker

Employment Personal advisers

Family support


Parent support advisers/Schools


Intensive family intervention worker/ parenting practitioner

£4bn+ is being spent each year….

Can be as much as £250,000-330,000per family per year……

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Severity of need and expensive provision

But not intervening is costing even more….

Child looked after in secure accommodation – £134,000 per year placement costs

Cost per child / family

Child looked after in children’s home – £125,000 per year placement costs


Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster Care – £68,000 per year for total package of support

Costs increase as children get older

Child looked after in foster care – £25,000 per year placement costs

Family Intervention Projects – £8-20,000 per family per year

Multi-Systemic Therapy – £7-10,000 per year

Parenting programme (e.g. Triple P) – £900-1,000 per family

Family Nurse Partnerships – £3000 per family a year

PEIP – £1,200 - 3,000 per parent

Children’s Centres - around £600 per user

Schools - £5,400 per pupil

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We know what works…. and expensive provision

  • High quality key workers working with low caseloads (4-6 families per worker)

  • Respectful and persistent whole family working that empowers and builds on family strengths

  • Using incentives / rewards / consequences and flexibility to use resources creatively

  • Support not time-limited for support (average 12-18 months) and available ‘out of hours’

  • Effective multi-agency working and information sharing

  • Family intervention costs £14K1 per family per year, making savings of around £50K2 per family per year

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New Government Campaign…. and expensive provision

  • The Prime Minister announced:

    “I set this ambition: by the end of this Parliament, I want us to try and turn around every troubled family in the country.”

  • As part of the campaign there will be:

    • Community budgets focused on family intervention to facilitate the breaking down of barriers to support families with multiple problems to enable local areas to work more effectively with these families, without duplicating effort and expenditure

    • Investment to build on current family intervention provision through an Early Intervention Grant

    • Trialling new ways of working: Seed funding for exemplar projects and to support dissemination

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Community Budgets…. and expensive provision

  • The Spending Review announced Community budgets in 16 areas (covering 28 LAs) focused on family intervention

  • Joint CLG/DfE Initiative

  • Purpose:

    • Facilitate the breaking down of barriers to support families with multiple problems.

    • Give LAs more control over local spending for families with multiple problems

    • Remove obstacles for multi agency working, by drawing together resources from children’s services, housing, police, health and probation that are spent on all these families

    • Allow local areas to redesign services for families to deliver better outcomes at less cost.

  • Each area has a ‘Whitehall Champion’ to ‘support and unblock’ problems

  • First phase of 16 community budgets now in place and all areas will have access to Community Budgets by 2013-14

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Early Intervention Grant…. and expensive provision

  • Brings together funding for a number of early intervention and preventative services for the for the most vulnerable children, young people and families.

  • It includes funding forfamilies withmultiple problems, Sure Start Children’s Centres and targeted youth support.

  • £2.2bn/annum funding provided to ALL local authorities in 2011-2012

  • Not ring-fenced - LAs have the flexibility to plan how best to use the funding in response to local needs and priorities. No breakdown in allocations but c.£60m expected to be spent on families with multiple problems

  • To encourage areas to transform services for families with multiple problems advances are offered on future years payments to allow LAs to invest in redesign of services for families in order to deliver savings for future years

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A new focus on working families…. and expensive provision

  • PM announced: Emma Harrison, an entrepreneur and owner of A4E will work in a personal capacity with a number of areas of the country to develop a new approach to supporting families into employment.

  • Set up Working Families Everywhere to develop and share new approaches to supporting workless families into employment

    • A pilot project running in 3 local authorities, testing out a new way of working with families with multiple problems with a focus on getting them back to work;

    • New ‘Family Champions’ will be based in FIPs

    • Plans include television series, newspaper and face book campaigns and a national network of organisations, including employers, to support her approach

    • Pilots will test/evaluate/share good practice

  • DWP has committed £60m of European Social Fund money each year to help families whose problems have been established following family intervention to move into employment

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VCS campaign…. and expensive provision

  • The voluntary sector will be crucial to the success of this campaign by providing services for families and sharing their expertise.

  • Around £5m per year is being provided through DfE’s new £60m Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) grant to support families with multiple problems

  • 15 organistions are being funded over the next 2 years to support:

    • Young carers

    • Families of offenders

    • Families with substance misuse issues

    • Families with mental health issues

    • Families at risk of homelessness or family breakdown

    • Volunteers to work with families with multiple problems

    • Interface Associates – new social enterprise (old field force) to support LAs to develop their services

  • Developing training programmes to support these vulnerable families and to develop models for integrated working, particularly between adult and children's services

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    Unique role of Interface and expensive provisionAssociates….

    • National centre of expertise, training and specialist support for organisations seeking improve services for Families with Multiple Problems

    • Key strategic partner for DfE and other Government departments

    • Timely expert advice, information and evidence.

    • Up to date picture of emerging and innovative practice across the country, the field, sector representatives and Whitehall.