Govt seeks family emphasis from local services

Local services are to be pressed to keep the interests of the family unit in mind when dealing with disadvantaged families.

The government has announced £16 million to pilot family pathfinder projects helping today’s children emerge from problems which have consistently blighted older generations.

Its announcement follows the publication of a report on the importance of family interests by the Cabinet Office’s social exclusion task force.

Local services must do more to refer families for different areas of support, at-risk families must receive help tailored to their needs and practitioners should “build on family strengths” to promote resilience, the report says.

“The primary responsibility for a family’s success or failure will always lie with parents, but government can make a significant difference to the chances of success,” Cabinet minister Ed Miliband said.

“There should be no wrong door to help for families, so that whenever vulnerable parents turn to local services they receive support that recognises the needs of the whole family.

“If we’re going to break the cycle of inter-generational exclusion, we must empower local services to always ‘think family’ and enable families to help themselves.”

The report emphasises the importance of early intervention to tackle problems before they become embedded and says all services should share the outcome for “family outcomes”.

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes said: “Building more effective preventative support around the family will help ensure that young people in families affected by illness, disability or substance misuse do not fall into burdensome caring roles.”