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Saturday, 21 July 2012

120,000 Families Cost Taxpayers £9 billion

A year of research commissioned by Louise Casey, British Prime Minister David Cameron's adviser on dysfunctional or "troubled families", has found that Britain's 120,000 problem "families" are costing taxpayers £9 billion in benefits - almost as much as the London Olympic Games.

Notice that I don't put the inverted commas around the word "problem", as is usual practice, but around "families". Because we don't know what kind of "families" these are and indeed we don't know what the word "family" means any more.
Children from "troubled families" need practical help to avoid becoming locked in a cycle of abuse and welfare dependency, according to a Government report.

David Cameron's adviser Louise Casey has been tasked with turning around the lives of the 120,000 most dysfunctional families by 2015.

In her initial report on the challenge the Government faces, compiled after interviewing a dozen families, she painted a grim picture of generational dysfunction.

She found that violence was endemic in many households and there were "entrenched cycles of suffering problems and causing problems" which poisons whole social networks.

Ms Casey discovered experiences such as domestic and sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies, police call-outs and educational failure are often passed down the generations.

"The prevalence of child sexual and physical abuse and sometimes child rape was striking and shocking," the report said.

"It became clear that, in many of these families, the abuse of children by in many cases parents, siblings, half-siblings and extended family and friends was a factor in their dysfunction.

"Some discussed it as if as it was almost expected and just a part of what they had experienced in life. Children often had not been protected by their parents.

"In many of the families, the sexual abuse repeated itself in the next generation... There were also incidents where families talked about incest."

Other common themes included people having children very young, and large numbers of them - often with different partners.

The report backed tackling the inter-linked issues of a whole family, rather than dealing with single problems or single individuals within a household.

Ms Casey said: "I am not making excuses for any family failing to send their kids to school or causing trouble in their community.

"However, unless we really understand what it is about these families that means they behave in this way, we can't start to turn their lives around."

She added: "It is clearer than ever to me now that we cannot go on allowing troubled families to fail their children.

"None of the parents I spoke to wanted their children to repeat a life of chaos and trouble, but often they couldn't see how to put things right by themselves - they needed practical and persistent help to do so."

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the report provided a real insight into the families' dysfunctional lives.

The Government has promised to pay upper-tier local authorities up to £4,000 per eligible family for reducing truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour, or putting parents back into work.

The programme's £448m three-year budget, which applies to England, is drawn from seven departments in a bid to join up local services.

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