Interface Associates UK Ltd
Families with Multiple Problems
Wendy Weal
Managing Director
Who are families with multiple problems?
No parent in the family is working
Family lives in poor-quality
or overcrowded housing
Poor parenting
Truancy, exclusion or low
educational attainment
No parent has any qualifications
Family in debt
Drugs or alcohol misuse
Mother has mental health problems
Marriage, relationship
or family breakdown
At least one parent has a long-standing
limiting illness, disability or infirmity
Family has low income
(below 60% of the median)
Domestic violence
Family cannot afford a number
of food and clothing items
Child protection issues
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).
Families with Multiple Problems…
• Growing up in a family with significant, social, health,
economic and behavioural problems has lasting and intergenerational 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
Multiple funding/accountability has resulted in
ineffective and expensive provision
Housing link
Personal advisers
Prisons /
YOS worker
Young carer
support worker
Parent support
Police officer
Family support
Mental Health Drug and
alcohol team
Intensive family
intervention worker/
parenting practitioner
£4bn+ is being spent each year….
Can be as much as £250,000-330,000 per family per year……
But not intervening is costing even more….
Cost per child /
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
Child looked after in foster
care – £25,000 per year
placement costs
Family Intervention Projects –
£8-20,000 per family per year
Parenting programme
(e.g. Triple P) – £9001,000 per family
Multi-Systemic Therapy –
£7-10,000 per year
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
Severity of need
Child looked after in secure
accommodation – £134,000
per year placement costs
Costs increase
as children get
We know what works….
• 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
New Government Campaign….
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
Community Budgets….
The Spending Review announced Community budgets in 16 areas (covering 28
LAs) focused on family intervention
Joint CLG/DfE Initiative
 Facilitate the breaking down of barriers to support families with multiple
 Give LAs more control over local spending for families with multiple
 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
Early Intervention Grant….
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 for families with multiple 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
A new focus on working families….
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
 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
VCS campaign….
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
Unique role of Interface Associates….
• 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
• Timely expert advice, information and evidence.
• Up to date picture of emerging and innovative practice across
the country, the field, sector representatives and Whitehall.

Interface Associates UK Ltd