Pickles pleased but Dudley kids' chief warns council support could stop if cuts continue (From Stourbridge News)
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Pickles pleased but Dudley kids' chief warns council support could stop if cuts continue
12:44pm Tuesday 17th September 2013 in News
DUDLEY'S children's services chief has warned government cuts could cause the end of support for hundreds of troubled families.
Cllr Tim Crumpton gave his bleak assessment as national politicians trumpeted the success of a scheme which targets families where members are involved in crime, truancy and anti-social behaviour.
In the borough of Dudley 687 families were identified as in need of help and the government claims their Troubled Families scheme has turned around 33 of those in 15 months.
Council cabinet member for children's services, cllr Tim Crumpton, welcomed the work of council staff in helping families but believes results need to be judged over a longer term and extra income for the scheme is wiped out by cuts to council funding.
He said: "The test of the resilience of what we have put in is to look at these families in a year. This is the real test of lasting success or a finger in the dyke.
"How do we get stability without funding, if what we have been told is correct about budgets no council is going to be doing any of this.
"You need to have infrastructure, how do they expect to do this work if funding is gone?"
Over the last two years the council has received £1.35m for the Troubled Families scheme, cllr Crumpton says government cuts have cost children's services at least £15m during the same period.
The coalition minister behind the scheme, communities secretary Eric Pickles, argues the initiative is bringing families back from the bring of catastrophe - which saves taxpayers cash.
Mr Pickles said: "The tough but sensible support offered by family intervention teams provides lasting solutions instead of temporary fixes. They refuse to accept that any family is beyond help: but they also say "you can't carry on like this".
"Hundreds of thousands of pounds are often spent on these families each year on police call outs, social workers and benefits.
"The hundreds of millions of pounds saved by this approach can be reinvested into improving public services and vitally making sure that other families don’t reach crisis point in the first place."
However cllr Crumpton say everyone involved must wait before claiming any victories.
He said: "Eric Pickles should ask for a statistical analysis in a year, that is a challenge for all of us.
"Eric Pickles can shout all he wants but if they keep ripping money out of us, what about the families? "
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