Sector urged to run Think Family pilots

Charities that deliver public services are being invited to team up with their local authorities to run pilot projects for the Government's new Think Family programme.

The programme, designed to target adult services at entire families instead of individual people, was announced on Thursday in a report by the Cabinet Office’s Social Exclusion Task Force.

The document, Think Family: Improving the life chances of families at risk, advocates extending tailored services to whole families – for example, by combining alcohol treatment and parenting classes for adults with supervised childcare.

It says making all adult services equally responsible for the welfare of whole families would encourage and empower front-line staff to innovate and cooperate.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families has committed £16m to the pilot projects, which will run for three years from April. A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said that between 12 and 15 pathfinder projects would be run depending on the quality and number of bids.

He said successful local authorities would have to demonstrate in their bids that they were working with charities on delivering services.

NCH already runs 20 family intervention programmes in the UK. Chief executive Clare Tickell said: “This investment will go a long way towards helping to break the cycle of poverty and low achievement many face by creating innovative ways to engage with the most vulnerable families. It will also provide a hub for people to access the support they need.”

Cabinet Office minister Ed Miliband, whose responsibilities include social exclusion, 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.”

The basic requirements for bids are set out in the application pack. Expressions of interest should be emailed to the Department for Children, Schools and Families by the end of February.

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