The Troubled Families approach in Cambridgeshire

Information for parents and families can be found on our accessing support or child protection pages. This page is aimed at professionals and agencies, although parents and families may find this detailed information useful. 

What is Troubled Families?

Troubled Families is a national government funded programme. It requires Local Authorities to support and track families with multiple problems. In Cambridgeshire there is a specific target to work successfully with 653 families in 2020/2021. Using our whole family approach, we ensure there is ‘significant and sustained progress’.

The national programme also required Local Authorities to embed whole family working within all public services. This is to prevent needs escalating and reduce demand on more expensive services.

How are families identified for the Troubled Families, and how would I know if they were part of the cohort?

To be included in the cohort families must meet two of following criteria:

  • Education issues
  • Crime/Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Current or historic domestic abuse
  • In need of Early Help or Social Care support
  • Risk of financial exclusion
  • Health issues

There must be an assessment covering all family members, a coordinated plan across the agencies involved and an identified Lead Professional.

The Early Help Hub reviews the information provided in an Early Help Assessment to make a decision as to whether the family meets the Troubled Families criteria. The Troubled Families data team also include some families ‘retrospectively’ whose additional needs may have been identified later in the intervention.

Cambridgeshire County Council staff and authorised professionals in other agencies are able to see if a family is part of the cohort by looking at its database, LiquidLogic

How are lead professional records kept and why is this important?

LiquidLogic contains the record of who the Lead Professional is for each family. This is a crucial part of the Early Help Strategy to ensure professionals are able to find out whether a family already has a Lead Professional and to avoid duplication.

Lead Professionals with the appropriate access update LiquidLogic directly.

Those without access should keep the Early Help Hub up to date by calling 01480 376 666 or emailing early.helphub@cambridgeshire.gov.uk if they are handing on the lead professional role. A final family plan will need to be completed when the 'team around the family' is coming to an end.

The national Troubled Families programme enables Local Authorities to request 'payment by results' claims for families who have made ‘sustained and significant progress' as a result of the Family Plan. It is possible to claim for £800 per family.

Sustained and significant progress is measured using the shared Outcomes Framework as an objective measure of progress. The Troubled Families Data Team use assessments, family plans and records held on LiquidLogic or Capita One (the previous Cambridgeshire County Council case record system). From these records they can assess whether sustained and significant progress has been made. It is very important that family plans are up to date either on LiquidLogic or sent to the Early Help Hub. This will enable money to be brought into Cambridgeshire to fund services.

It is possible the Troubled Families data team may call you to ‘fill in some gaps’ in the evidence we have on file to enable 'payment by results' claims to be made. For example, attendance information or checking the impact of some parenting work that was done, or whether parents attended groups they were referred to.

Other agencies may call because they have been made aware you are the lead professional for a family and they wish to work together with you. The Early Help Hub would inform other professionals who the lead professional is for a family.

Some agencies (in particular Jobcentre Plus) receive regular lists of Troubled Families, as a result of a data sharing agreement. They also want work coaches to work with lead professionals to ensure their support to families claiming out of work benefits is timely and effective. 

All families in Cambridgeshire have access to the same services dependent upon need. We want all families to experience 'Think Family' working when they engage with public services so all professionals are asked to consider when they begin working with a family:

  • who are the other family members, siblings, adults?
  • what are their needs and are they being addressed?
  • who is the Lead professional and is there a family plan or does there need to be?
Troubled Families Outcome Plan (06-2020)635KBpdf
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