TROUBLED families Czar Louise Casey has today singled out the work of Sheffield City Council to get children into school, cut youth crime and get people into employment on a visit to the city.


Sheffield was highlighted as a beacon city leading the way in creating effective partnerships between the health service, schools and the council to support vulnerable children and families by Ms Casey, who is Head of the Government’s Troubled Families programme, on a trip to Sheffield today (Wednesday) .


Sheffield’s Building Successful Families programme was praised after the council and its partners – including health, police and the voluntary sector –worked with 1680 families in the city, achieving a 100 per cent success rate in turning around their lives.


This means that either all children are back in school full time for a year and youth crime and anti-social behaviour are significantly reduced across the whole family, or an adult has moved off benefits and into work for three months or more


Addressing a delegation of leaders and managers at the council, she said the commitment by Sheffield to this work was “outstanding”. This follows a high level meeting last month where successful families also met Ms Casey


Ms Casey said: “Sheffield has been pioneering in developing the ‘whole family’ approach to turning around some of the most complex and difficult families in the country, who have an average of nine serious problems each. Sheffield’s ‘one family, one worker, one plan’ system is one I often urge other councils to adopt.


“I was therefore delighted to be asked to come and celebrate the outstanding success of the Building Successful Families programme in the city and look ahead to how we can help even more families in the years ahead so that children are in school, teenagers are out of trouble with the police and parents can move back towards work. This is life-changing stuff that saves money, benefits the whole community and most importantly gives children a better chance in life.”


Sheffield was highlighted by the Government for the unique approach to the way it works with the whole family, using a key worker to build a strong relationship with the families and co-ordinate the family support services available. The council and partners continues to build on its principle of one worker, one family, one plan to streamline support and ensure professional work towards sustainable support for families.


As a result Sheffield has been chosen to be part of the government’s expanded programme enabling the city to work with more families earlier and changing the lives of children.


Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council said: “At the end of the day all families want the same thing – they want to make sure that their children are happy and successful, which means a good education, a good place to live and enough money to afford a good stand of living. But for some families there are many more barriers in the way stopping them achieving this than others. Getting on the right path to achieve this can be hard – especially if they have never had support. But by getting these families access to help and supporting them we are seeing changes. And ultimately this is changes to both children’s  and families’ lives. Our ambition is that every child and young person has the chance to achieve their potential and this certainly is one important part toward achieving this.


“In addition to the work around successful families, the early intervention work we undertake is essential in giving all children a good start in life which is essential in helping children succeed in school and to fulfil their potential.”


Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families added: “Having Louise Casey endorsing the way we work in Sheffield is fantastic. The Council have worked hard to give families support and early help so they, and their children and young people, can achieve their full potential while at the same time enabling us to transform the way we deliver public services in the future.


“It was wonderful too, to hear Louise Casey praise Sheffield, stating Children, Young People and Family services were ahead of the game and one of the best in the country. She thanked staff and elected Members for their vision and hard work and endorsed our policies and ways of working. I felt extremely proud and so should all those involved, not just for doing a great job but for helping to change lives as well.”


Sheffield was one of the first authorities in the country to adopt a joined up approach to dealing with troubled families – with the intention to intervene early to prevent further problems down the line. The work has enabled hundreds of families which may have been split up to stay together, while at the same time saving tax-payers money.