Today David Cameron has announced plans for a network of "troubleshooters" to give more focused support to England's most troubled families. He’s promised to turn around the lives of 120,000 families who have multiple problems and complex, chaotic lives. These families will now get targeted support from dedicated key workers, who will co-ordinate an intensive and persistent multi-agency approach to help support the whole family to overcome their problems.
This is a joined-up policy solution for families with complicated problems based on joined-up evidence. And much of that evidence has come from two vital research initiatives led by NatCen Social Research. I’ve blogged previously about my research to identify these families. This used data from the Families and Children Study (FACS) to calculate that 120,000 families had 5 or more problems from a list including low income, unemployment, poor quality housing, material deprivation, poor physical health, mental health problems, and no qualifications. And today my colleague Clarissa White has blogged on other research from NatCen Social Research that assesses the impact of the Department for Education's Family Interventions. Clarissa's research suggests that Family Interventions continue to report impressive outcomes, but warns of the need to continue assessing the impact in the longer term.
As the UK’s leading independent social research organisation, we’re committed to producing research which works for society. So it’s great to see evidence from our studies underpinning important policy developments - and that Government plans are drawing on robust research evidence. We’re continuing to research in this area on other fronts too. I've previously blogged on research we are doing for the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to explore the lived experiences of people in poverty. This research will help us understand different groups of households in poverty with particular combinations of problems. This in turn will help policy makers to target and design policies better. And only this week NatCen Social Research published findings from the latest British Social Attitudes survey that confirmed that the public think child poverty is an issue that government must tackle.
This is critical policy area and in the current economic climate will remain so for the foreseeable future. NatCen Social Research is well place to offer insights on this to policy makers and other stakeholders. Please keep an eye on our website for further information from our research studies. And if you’re interested in finding out more get in touch with me.