Liverpool City Council eyes £6.5m for struggling families

Liverpool City Council could get early access to £6.5 million from the government’s Troubled Families initiative to support struggling families to turn their lives around.

The Liverpool Families Programme works with parents and children who are affected by unemployment, domestic abuse, health problems, school absence, children in need and crime. The council predicts that it will work with 6,760 families by 2020, in addition to 2,105 previously supported in an earlier phase of the scheme.

The success of the programme has positioned the councils as one of a number of local authorities invited to apply for ‘earned autonomy’ status, and, if agreed, would be initially spent on children affected by autism, domestic abuse and criminal exploitation.

Barry Kushner, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Assisting families before they get into crisis is working, and has led to a reduction in the number of referrals to children’s social care and a drop in young people on child protection plans. But demand for our services is still far too high and we have no choice but to redouble our efforts, particularly as many vulnerable families are being, and will continue to be, affected by welfare reform.

“The proposed flexibility to funding that this new approach would bring is welcome, but it must be set in the context of a 68 percent reduction in the council’s overall council budget from 2010 – 2020, and the crisis in children’s social care, which is placing a great strain on many of our frontline services.”