Family support: help for troubled families

Service information

Troubled families programme and the Supporting families project

As part of the Government’s commitment to reduce the number of families in the country that place the highest demand on services and resources, it has provided local authorities with additional funding through the Troubled Families Programme to redesign the way it delivers services to these families. The Supporting families project is Blackburn with Darwen’s approach to delivering on this agenda.

Identification of families for the programme: criteria

Education: households affected by truancy or exclusions

  • Child with 15% unauthorised absence attendance over three consecutive terms or there is evidence of a pattern of poor attendance that gives the Head Teacher an equivalent level of concern. Authorised absence may be taken into account where there is a comparable attendance problem masked by recording practices.
  • Child has been permanently excluded from school, received 3 or more fixed term or
  • Child is on a Pupil Referral Unit or alternative provision because they have been excluded or they are not on the school role

Crime and antisocial behaviour: young people involved in crime and families involved in antisocial behaviour

  • One of more proven offence by under 18 in last 12 months
  • 1 or more family members involved in antisocial behaviour over the last 12 months


Adult member of the household is claiming out of work benefits

Local discretion

The Council is able to apply local criteria to help identify suitable families for the programme. This includes mental health issues, drug and alcohol misuse, child protection concerns and debt etc.

How it works

The Council receives referrals for families who need support through a Request for Support (RFS) Form.

This form is usually completed with consent from the family by a professional in schools, housing providers, health providers, police, youth justice teams, children’s centres etc. 

The RFS is sent into  and then brought to the weekly Transforming lives Panel. If the family meet 2 of the above criteria they are then attached to the programme, which in Blackburn with Darwen is commonly referred to as the Supporting Families Project.

We will provide a family with a family intervention key worker who will work alongside them to identify and address the issues they need help with. The Key Worker can co-ordinate the work of other services and agencies. They can work with a family to:

  • Arrange positive activities for  your children
  • Help you with parenting boundaries and routines
  • Help you with education, training or employment
  • Help you with housing problems and reduce debt

Data sharing and the information we hold

Blackburn with Darwen Council has committed to the Government to deliver the national programme in our area. In order to fulfil our obligations it is necessary to share information with critical partners. This is not only in delivering the programme but also in evaluating its effectiveness.

In order to identify families, understand the difference we are making and focus on who can potentially access the additional support the programme offers we will be sharing personal records that relate to you.

This data will be shared for research purposes with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Office of National Statistics. The data included in this research relates to people/families that were assessed for the programme along with those who have participated in the programme.

This might include records in relation to your social care, any involvement with the police, courts and probation, aspects relating to your employment, anti-social behaviour, violence in the home, substance misuse, educational attendance and behaviour, vulnerable children and health issues.

The personal data of individuals and families will be linked with information from public agencies. Organisations such as the NHS and health organisations, Department of works and pension, the Police, the ministry of Justice, the probation services, schools and Youth offending Team.  The reason to link the information is to help the government and local service providers understand whether or not the programme has been effective in reducing offending, truancy, getting people ready for work and to help improve the service over time.

Data agreements are in place to ensure that:

  • the data can only be used for carrying out research;
  • the linked data cannot be used to make decisions about individuals;
  • the linked information is anonymised to reduce the risk of individuals being identified;
  • it will be impossible for any person or family to be identified from any published reports;
  • the linked personal data will not be shared with or made available to the local authority or any other public agency;
  • all data is transferred, handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorised use of the data; 
  • the data is destroyed after five years.

Your Rights

  • We will not use your information for third party marketing purposes, or pass it on to third parties, other than those who either process information on our behalf or because of a legal requirement.
  • You have the right to ask the Council for personal information held about you. Details of how to do this can be found here;
  • You may also ask the Council to consider any objections you may have to the processing of your personal information, including processing for research purposes.
  • For more details please contact the Transforming Lives, Strengthening Communities Project Manager on 01254 588829.

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