Family intervention projects report success despite cuts

The number of vulnerable families being offered support through a family intervention project (FIP) almost doubled in the past year, according to latest figures. (Picture posed by models, Alamy)

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The number of vulnerable families being offered support through a family intervention project (FIP) almost doubled in the past year, according to latest figures.

Department for Education figures show that until 31 March this year 12,850 referrals had been made to services. This compares with 7,231 at the same point in 2010.

But charities involved in running such projects say funding continues to be precarious.

Action for Children have confirmed that since May 2010 five of its FIP services have closed and others are facing budget cuts.

A spokeswoman added that short-term funding continues to be a concern, with most only receiving council funding for 12 months at a time.

She said: “We understand the constraints councils face but it would help if there was greater flexibility to the funding and it wasn’t as short term as it is.”

Barnardo’s, which runs 11 FIPs, is having to supplement reductions in council funding with its own funding in some areas .

Government funding for the first FIPs, which were piloted in 27 council areas ran out in 2010. Ministers hoped councils involved would continue funding the services and other areas would also develop their own FIPs.

Government figures show that a fifth of the original FIP pilots were unable to find further funding and closed.

The Department for Education has also released the latest evaluation of the pilots which showed that, in terms of crime reduction, health and employment prospects for those families involved, £1.90 was saved for every £1 spent on a FIP scheme.

The proportion of families involved in crime and antisocial behaviour halved after FIP interventions.

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said: “The figures back up the argument that by investing in such services now we will save money in the long run; where antisocial behaviour and truanting were a key reason for the specialist intervention, it stopped in around half the families.”

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